KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Alabama was embarrassed on the boards at
Florida over the weekend. The Tide didn't let it happen a second
Kennedy Winston scored 18 points and Alabama outrebounded
Tennessee by 24 in a 72-54 victory on Wednesday night.
Alabama (No. 19 ESPN/USA Today; No. 17 AP) dominated the Volunteers with a 43-19 rebounding margin
in recovering from its last game, a 31-point loss at Florida on
Saturday. The Gators outrebounded the Tide 46-23 and snapped
Alabama's six-game winning streak.
"We were destroyed on the boards in Gainesville," Alabama
coach Mark Gottfried said. "It sort of got away from us at Florida
and we did a poor job, but we got it corrected by tonight's game."
The Volunteers (11-12, 4-6) got as close as three points after
scoring the first basket in the second half, but the Tide had a
12-4 run to push the lead to 42-31 with 14:37 remaining.
Tennessee's previous season-low rebounds was 25. Alabama came
into the game with a 2.5 rebound margin over its previous SEC
"We might have practiced tonight if we came out here and got
beat on the boards again," Davis said. "We made a conscious
effort to do a great job on the boards."
Alabama has won six straight over the Vols, including a 35-point
rout in the first round of last year's SEC tournament.
It created mismatches in favor of the Tide on the boards and on
defense, and Alabama had counted on it.
"We knew they were a small team and forced to play small with
Crump out. It hurts them. You can't really blame them for getting
beat on the boards when they're playing four 6-4 guys and we
outsized them," Davis said.
Alabama had 14 offensive rebounds and 29 on the defensive end.
"This was a tale of rebounding. When you get beat that badly on
the boards, it is hard to win," Tennessee coach Buzz Peterson
said. "You cannot let Alabama have second and third shots like
they had tonight."
Crump played for the first time since spraining his left ankle
at Louisville on Jan. 22. He missed the Vols' last four games.
Alabama, one of the best defensive teams in the SEC, held the
Vols to a season-low 35 percent shooting from the field (20-of-56)
and overcame its 20 turnovers.
Alabama trailed once in the first half, but after Tennessee went
ahead 18-15 the Tide had a 10-2 run to regain the lead for good.
The Vols went without a field goal for 5½ minutes during the spurt,
their only points coming on free throws.
Alabama is the only SEC team Peterson has not beaten in his four
seasons at Tennessee.