Offense stifled, No. 1 Alabama falls to No. 10 Tennessee in Knoxville, 68-59

Mathey Gibson, Staff Reporter

Sometimes, the target on your back grows too large. 

On Wednesday, No. 1 Alabama fell to the No. 10 Tennessee Volunteers 68-59 in a physical matchup between two of the SEC’s best.  

It was a difficult night for Crimson Tide guard Jahvon Quinerly, who scored three points on 1-for-5 shooting while turning the ball over six times. 

Quinerly, a 6-foot-1 guard from Hackensack, New Jersey, struggled with the Volunteers’ length — forcing himself into a number of double-teams while taking some ill-advised shots from the floor.  

Things didn’t get easier for backcourt counterpart Mark Sears, who scored two points on 1-for-6 shooting – failing to make a shot from beyond the arc while turning the ball over three times himself. 

“They did a good job on us. We turned the ball over way too much,” Alabama head coach Nate Oats said. “It was their physicality. They got into our guards, we didn’t handle it well.” 

After a scoring 12 points versus Auburn on Friday, Jaden Bradley followed his recent uptick in play by posting 14 points on 2-for-6 shooting – drilling 10 of his 14 attempts at the line in Knoxville. 

Bradley, a former five-star freshman from Bradenton, Florida, dished out four assists and turned the ball only twice – becoming the only Crimson Tide player with a positive assist-to-turnover ratio on the night.  

For redshirt-sophomore Nimari Burnett, the shots continue to fall – hitting 3-of-4 shots from downtown en route to an 11 point, two rebound performance which saw the former Texas Tech transfer play well on both ends of the floor.  

Burnett, a 6-foot-6 guard from Chicago, Illinois, did however tack on his fifth foul late in the second half – fouling out for the first time in his young career.  

While the Crimson Tide sputtered offensively, the fourth-year head coach was pleased with his team’s effort on defense. 

“Our defense was not the issue tonight, overall,” Oats said. “But we could not get stops down the stretch when we needed to.” 

While the Crimson Tide kept it close throughout the game’s entirety, in the end, it was turnovers that sealed the top-ranked team’s fate.  

“Turnovers have been an issue early in the year, I thought we had it pretty well controlled here lately, but, tonight it came back and got us,” Oats said. “Their physicality on their defensive end really hurt us. So, we’ve got to go back, and get ready to play the next one.” 

After losing a tough game on the road, Oats’ squad will look to bounce back with a home matchup against Mike White’s Georgia Bulldogs in Tuscaloosa on Saturday. 

No. 1 Alabama versus Georgia is set for Saturday, Feb. 18 at 5 p.m. CT in Coleman Coliseum on SEC Network.