KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Dalton Knecht scored 25 points to help No. 6 Tennessee beat Alabama 91-71 Saturday to hand the Crimson Tide its first Southeastern Conference loss this season.

Jonas Aidoo added 19 points and four blocks and Jordan Gainey had 15 points for the Volunteers (14-4, 4-1 SEC).

“We played against the best offensive team in the country,” said Tennessee coach Rick Barnes. “They’re a difficult team to guard. Everything we do on defense is team-oriented. It’s difficult to do anything one-on-one.”

Mark Sears led the Crimson Tide (12-6, 4-1) with 22 points, but had seven turnovers.

“(Sears) is a very left-to-right guard,” said Tennessee's Jahmai Mashack, who hounded him a lot. “He likes to step back and take the (3-pointer). We tried to take that 3-ball away.”

Alabama, which had problems with the Tennessee defense throughout the game, finished with 22 turnovers. The Vols scored 23 points off those mistakes.

“(Tennessee was) tougher and more physical than we were,” said Alabama coach Nate Oats. “We weren’t ready for it. They played harder than we did.”

Alabama committed eight turnovers in the first 10 minutes of the game. Those miscues allowed Tennessee to jump out to a 25-13 lead. The Crimson Tide finished the first half with 13 turnovers and the Vols were in charge, 50-37.

“When you give up 23 points off turnovers and 17 second-chance points, you won’t win many games,” said Oats. “They dominated us in a lot of ways.”

Knecht had 17 points in the first half to lead Tennessee. Gainey had 13 and Aidoo had 10.

“(Knecht) killed us when it mattered,” Oats said. “He kinda took his foot off the gas (in the second half).”

“I thought (Alabama) did a good job (defensively) on Dalton,” said Barnes. “They did a great job guarding him. He's getting better.”


Alabama: Coach Nate Oates was reprimanded by the SEC after making contact with a Missouri player during a bit of chaos earlier in the week. … Add Tennessee to the list of elite teams the Crimson Tide has battled this season. Purdue, Creighton and Arizona are the other highly-ranked teams they’ve tested - and lost to. ... Mark Sears is one of three Division I players who has at least 330 points, 40 3-pointers, 60 assists and 65 rebounds so far.

Tennessee: Heading into the Alabama game, Dalton Knecht set a program record with 103 points in the last three games. In the five games leading up to that torrid streak, Knecht totaled 39 points. That’s where coach Rick Barnes’ plea for consistency comes in.


Alabama: The Crimson Tide will entertain No. 13 Auburn Wednesday.

Tennessee: The Vols will have a week off before traveling to Vanderbilt next Saturday.

Copyright 2024 STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.