No. 3 Vols withstand rolling Tide, 71-68

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Grant Williams scored 21 points, and No. 3 Tennessee rallied past Alabama 71-68 on Saturday for its 12th straight win and a chance to climb atop the AP Top 25.

After No. 1 Duke lost to Syracuse on Monday and No. 2 Michigan fell at Wisconsin on Saturday, the Volunteers (16-1, 5-0 Southeastern Conference) could lead the poll Monday for the first time since 2008.

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After winning its first four SEC games by an average of 25 points, Tennessee had a much tougher time with the Crimson Tide. John Petty matched a career high with 30 points, and Alabama (11-6, 2-3) erased a 15-point deficit to lead late in the second half. But Petty also had a critical turnover in the closing seconds.

Tennessee led 69-68 when Williams was called for an offensive foul after leaning into Alabama’s Donta Hall with 11.3 seconds left. After a timeout, Alabama worked the ball to Petty, who traveled as he began his drive with 3.2 seconds left.

Lamonte’ Turner made two free throws to extend Tennessee’s lead to 71-68 with 2.5 seconds left. Alabama had no timeouts remaining, and the Tide’s Kira Lewis Jr. wasn’t even to midcourt when he launched a desperation shot that didn’t come close.

Admiral Schofield had 12 points and 11 rebounds for Tennessee, and he made the basket that put the Vols ahead for good with 2:12 left. Jordan Bowden scored 12 points, and Jordan Bone added 10.

Hall had 16 points and 12 rebounds. Lewis added 12 points.

WELCOME SIGHT

Former Tennessee star Tony White, who is battling leukemia, attended Saturday’s game and received a standing ovation from the sellout crowd when he was introduced at midcourt during a timeout. White’s 51-point performance against Auburn in February 1984 remains Tennessee’s single-game scoring record.

BIG PICTURE

Alabama: Free-throw shooting doomed the Tide. Alabama was 4 of 13 from the free-throw line in the second half.

Tennessee: The Volunteers last won 12 straight in 1976-77, when they went 22-6 and earned a share of the SEC regular-season title. Williams showed why he’s an All-America candidate as he made numerous big plays on both ends of the floor down the stretch, including blocking Petty’s 3-point attempt in the closing minutes.

UP NEXT

Alabama hosts No. 18 Mississippi on Tuesday.

Tennessee is at Vanderbilt on Wednesday.

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Angela joined the News 12 team in November of 2017 as the weekend sports anchor and reporter. Angela is a proud member of an Army family, which means she has hometowns all over the Eastern Seaboard. Most recently, she calls Peachtree City, Georgia, home, where she graduated from Trinity Christian School and spent her free time driving her purple golf cart. She then headed to Milledgeville, Georgia, to attend Georgia College and State University. A proud Bobcat, Angela graduated Summa Cum Laude with a BA in Mass Communication and represented her December 2016 class as one of three valedictorians. Angela comes to the Scenic City from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, where she worked at the NBC affiliate, WMBF News. Before the big move, she worked as Georgia College's Sports Information Assistant, which let her get paid to be the Bobcats' biggest fan. It all started in Savannah, Georgia, though, where she interned for SAV's number one station, WTOC. When she's not working, you can find Angela watching the New York Giants, Rangers or basically any other game that's on. She also loves traveling, hiking and exploring new places, all with her camera in hand. If you have any story ideas, big or small, feel free to reach out to her on Facebook and Twitter, or email her at amoryan@wdef.com."