Tennessee and Alabama battled in a close game for a half, but the Tide gradually pulled away in the second half to win 58-48, ending the Vols' chances for an SEC tournament championship.
On paper, these teams were very similar going in to the game, with the exact same overall record (20-11). Alabama held a 1 game edge in SEC competition, and the teams split games in the regular season, both winning at home. Both teams were on the bubble for the NCAA tournament, and a victory Friday would go a long way towards securing a spot.
Now, Tennessee will have to wait and see if their recent win streak will be enough to impress the tournament committee.
The game was fairly close at halftime, with Alabama holding a 31-27 edge. In the second half, they outplayed the Vols, building a 9 point lead with less than 9 minutes to go. Tennessee got it back within 4 with a pair of free throws by Jarnell Stokes late in the game, but they couldn't get any closer.
Jordan McRae battled foul trouble and poor shooting in the second half, spending several minutes sitting on the bench, and only scored 9 points. Josh Richardson was the Vols' leading scorer, with 16 points. Stokes had 12 points and 13 rebounds, registering another double-double this season.
Alabama will go on to play top-seeded Florida at 1:00 pm on Saturday. Florida defeated LSU 80-58. The game will be televised on ABC.
The NCAA Tournament selections will be made Sunday evening.