Tied 32-32 with 17:14 remaining, the Vols managed just one basket during a disastrous 11-minute stretch that saw the Tide outscore them 20-3 to build a 52-35 lead with 5:55 remaining.
The Vols played well enough to win defensively, limiting Bama to 36.9 percent shooting from the field and 27.8 percent from 3 while forcing 14 turnovers. The problem was, Tennessee was abysmal offensively, shooting 34.1 percent (15 of 44) from the field and 20 percent (4 of 20) from behind the arc while committing 17 turnovers.
"I just think we came out a little stagnant," Tennessee's Jeronne Maymon said on the post-game show. "Their press gave us a lot of problems in the full court. Me and Trae had a lot of problems holding onto the ball."
Tennessee got next-to-nothing from its wings, who went a combined 2 for 22 from the field. Starters Cameron Tatum and Skylar McBee were 0 for 6 each. Backups Jordan McRae (2 for 8) and Josh Richardson (0 for 2) also struggled.
Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin thought Bama deserved some credit for the Vols' offensive woes. The Tide blocked 7 shots and recorded a season-high 15 steals.
"They did a good job of running and jumping and trapping, mixing up their zone and man," he said. "They did a really good job."
Tennessee started well and led 13-8 eight minutes into the game.. Alabama made a 19-4 spurt, however, to go up 27-17. Golden hit back-to-back 3-pointers to help the Vols pull within 29-25 at the break.
A three-point play by Stokes tied the score at 32 with 17:14 to go but Tennessee's offense evaporated at this point. A Maymon free throw and a Golden layup were the only points the Vols got over the next 11 minutes. Meanwhile, Trevor Releford scored nine of Bama's 20 points as the Tide went up 52-35 and salted the game away.
"They got us in the press and they got us in the backcourt, when we made some weak passes and they made plays, used their length and got steals," Martin said. "We didn't make shots. When you don't make shots you get a little hesitant but you've got to stay aggressive and shoot the ball."
In addition to shooting poorly, Tennessee surrendered 14 offensive rebounds and lost the backboard battle 37-31.
Tennessee tries to get back on track Wednesday at Thompson-Boling Arena, facing Ole Miss at 7 p.m.