TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The turnovers and missed shots were back, and the confidence was gone.
So, too, is the Tennessee basketball team's four-game win streak.
The Volunteers struggled against shorthanded Alabama, as the Crimson Tide used energy and swarming defense to beat UT at its own game in a 62-50 SEC win on Saturday afternoon at Coleman Coliseum.
"Coach [Cuonzo Martin] said the hungriest team hunts best," said UT forward Jeronne Maymon, who led the Vols with 20 points and six rebounds. "It's all about who's hungry and who's going to come out and play the hardest. They obviously came out and went all out there."
Though Alabama (17-9, 6-6 SEC) was still without suspended forwards JaMychal Green and Tony Mitchell, the Tide hardly looked like they were missing their top two scorers and rebounders. Alabama scored 19 points off 17 UT turnovers and outrebounded the Vols 37-31. The Tide's pressure defense, whether it was a fullcourt press and trap or a mixture of zone and man-to-man in the halfcourt, made everything difficult for the Vols (14-13, 6-6).
Trevor Lacey and Andrew Steele combined for nine of Alabama's 15 steals, and Moussa Gueye, a 7-foot sophomore from Senegal, blocked six shots in his first start.
"You have to give those guys credit for really getting out in the passing lanes and being assertive," Martin said. "I thought we were hesitant in making passes and making plays and moves. You have to give those guys credit for that. They were very active."