Those other six days of the week have been pesky, but the Alabama men’s basketball team sure seems to have Saturday figured out.
The Crimson Tide clicked all afternoon long on offense and defense, dominating the nation’s No. 15 team, the Tennessee Volunteers, to take a 78-50 win, the largest home-court margin of victory over UA’s orange rival in the 50-year history of Coleman Coliseum.
It was also Alabama’s largest victory margin ever against an AP Top 15 team.
As a measure of the day’s dominance, Alabama shot 57 percent from the floor — including seven dunks by Donta Hall — and limited UT to 27 percent.
“They have some players on their team that are problems,” Alabama coach Avery Johnson said. “We identified the problems and did a pretty good job against them. We carried over a lot of situations and details from practice. We were a lot more fun to watch.”
The Crimson Tide led by as many as 13 points in the first half, held that advantage at 10 points (37-27) at the intermission and started the second half with another spurt that buried the Vols.
Donta Hall had the best out of many impressive individual performances for UA. He posted 17 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks.
“We didn’t want to settle for jumpers,” Johnson said. “We wanted to run our offense from the inside out. But our guards did a good job of penetrating.”
“We were just running,” said Crimson Tide guard Collin Sexton, who had an efficient 16-point, four-assist effort while playing 24 minutes. “I feel like when we’re running, we’re at our best.”
In addition to Hall and Sexton, UA got 14 points from freshman John Petty.
Grant Williams led the Volunteers (18-6, 8-4 SEC) with 16 points. He was the only UT player in double figures.
“With this group, I didn’t think we could be that bad,” said UT coach Rick Barnes. “That’s taking nothing away from Alabama. They just did what they wanted to do. We just didn’t compete and we aren’t built that way, but that’s taking nothing away from Alabama.
“I’m baffled by it, to be honest, but we got what we deserved.”
Alabama (16-9, 7-5 SEC) will be back at home on Tuesday hosting LSU. But Johnson was quick to tap the brakes on overexuberance after the big win.
“I was on TV after the game and they asked me about ‘Final Four,’” Johnson said. “Final Four? We’re just trying to get four possessions in a row right in practice.”
Reach Cecil Hurt at firstname.lastname@example.org or 205-722-0225.