TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – 20-point outputs from senior Jordan Bowden and junior John Fulkerson, along with junior Yves Pons’ second career double-double propelled the Tennessee men’s basketball team past Alabama, 69-68, on Tuesday in Tuscaloosa.
The win ended Tennessee’s (13-9, 5-4 SEC) three-game losing skid and was the first time the Vols overcame a 15-point deficit to win a game since knocking off Alabama in March of 2017.
The Vols were led by Fulkerson’s career-high 22 points, with 14 coming in the first half. Fulkerson also added a season-high-tying three blocks.
Bowden’s 20 points were the third time he’s reached 20, with 16 coming in the second half. Bowden was also huge on the defensive end, nabbing a career-high six steals.
Pons added 12 points and pulled in a career-high 14 rebounds. Eight of his 14 rebounds came on the offensive glass, helping to keep alive multiple key possessions in the second half.
The contest was the first time the Vols had multiple 20-point scorers since last season’s NCAA Tournament contest with Purdue.
To get things going, the Crimson Tide knocked down six of their first 12 attempts from the field to take a 16-10 advantage at the 11:25 mark of the first half.
As the half progressed, Alabama stretched its lead to as many as 15 points, however a late run spearheaded by six consecutive points from Fulkerson meant the Crimson Tide took a 40-32 lead into the locker room.
Out of the break, both squads went bucket-for-bucket, allowing Alabama to hold a 50-43 lead as the second frame neared its mid-point.
Over the next three minutes, the Vols used an 11-3 run to take their first lead since the 18:44 mark of the first half, holding a slim 54-53 advantage with 8:22 remaining.
The next four minutes saw the teams trade the lead four times, with the largest lead during that stretch being three points in favor of the Crimson Tide.
In the final minutes, two timely buckets, steady free-throw shooting and a game-winning rejection from Pons as time was expiring, put a lid on the contests final score.
Defense Comes Up Big: Coming into tonight’s game Alabama was the SEC’s highest scoring offense. The Vols held the Crimson Tide to under 70 points for just the second time during league play.
Le Streak is Feeling 22: Yves Pons finished the night with three blocks, extending his streak of consecutive games with at least one block to 22 games.
Up Next: The Vols return to action for a Saturday afternoon matchup with SEC rival Kentucky. Tipoff from Thompson-Boling Arena is set for 1 p.m. ET on CBS.