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Tennessee struggles, beats Alabama 63-56 anyway

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I was worried about this game. Sure, Alabama was only 11-6 and 1-2 in the SEC, but I thought that the Vols might have been riding emotion since the events of January 1 that every television announcer has to mention at least ten times every game. Honestly, I worried that the Kansas game was a bit of a fluke, a rally-the-troops type win, and I kept waiting for the let down, but the team kept waking up at the right times fueled in large part by the home crowd. 

But I wondered what would happen when the guys were on their own, all alone in someone else's arena without the energy of the fans. Well, never mind, because as Jimmy Dykes said last night, every great team needs to win a few games on the road when they don't play their best, and we got ours last night, beating the Crimson Tide, 63-56.

Scotty Hopson led the team with an all-around game, scoring 17 points by slashing down the lane at times and hitting timely threes at others. Kenny Hall managed a double double with 12 points and 10 rebounds, and Wayne Chism, after a slow start due to two early fouls, pretty much sealed the game with excellent play in the paint and an 11-point, 7-rebound effort. Tennessee shot only 39.3% but held Alabama to 37.9% and forced 14 turnovers.

The Vols, on a seven-game winning streak, improve to 15-2 overall and 3-0 in the SEC. Up next is a trip to Georgia to take on a Bulldog team that is 8-8 overall and 0-3 in the SEC.

P.S. Don't forget that you can watch highlights of the game right here on RTT using the SEC Digital Network widget on the right sidebar.