No. 5 Tennessee vs. No. 4 Alabama final score: Tide grind out victory over Vols, stay alive in bubble race

USA TODAY Sports

Alabama defeated Tennessee in a critical SEC matchup. Their tourney hopes stay alive for one more day.

The Alabama Crimson Tide kept their NCAA tournament hopes alive Friday, defeating the Tennessee Volunteers, 58-48, to advance to the SEC semifinal round.

With both teams firmly on the bubble, this had all the makings of a "win or go home" game. As such, it was closely contested for most of the first half. Alabama led most of the way, but never got a lead larger than five points. The Tide used a 7-3 run at the end of the first half to go into halftime up 31-27.

Alabama started to pull away in the second half, opening up one of their biggest leads of the game at the 9:03 mark, when they led 50-41. The Vols attempted a comeback late in the game, but they never got the deficit closer than four points.

Tennessee struggled to find the bucket all day, shooting just 32.1 percent from the field and a mere 5 of 23 on three pointers. Meanwhile, Alabama made 41.3 percent of their field goals. Levi Randolph led the Tide with 15 points, and Nick Jacobs hauled in 12 rebounds.

The loss is a blow to Tennessee's tourney hopes, but the Vols got some outside help when La Salle and Virginia both lost earlier in the day. They remain on the cusp of the bubble and will have an agonizing wait on Selection Sunday. As for the Tide, they had a lot more to gain from winning here, and staying alive in the SEC tournament is a critical step. They will face Florida in the semifinals on Saturday.

More in College Basketball:

Your Bracketology update

The life and death of Earl Badu

Full coverage of the ACC tournament

Full coverage of the Big East tournament

Full coverage of the Big Ten tournament

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.