Herbert Jones finished with 21 points and 13 rebounds to lead sixth-ranked Alabama to a 73-68 victory over Tennessee in a Southeastern Conference semifinal on Saturday in Nashville, Tenn.
Jones, the SEC's Player of the Year, also had four assists to help the Crimson Tide erase a 15-point second-half deficit and advance to their first conference championship game since 2002.
Alabama (23-6), which won its fifth in a row, will attempt to win its first conference tournament crown since 1991 when it faces third-seeded LSU in the final. The Tigers defeated No. 8 Arkansas 78-71 in the other semifinal.
Victor Bailey Jr.'s 3-pointer drew nothing but air, allowing Keon Ellis to collect the rebound and hit a pair of free throws to put the game away.
Keon Johnson finished with 20 points and nine rebounds to lead the Volunteers (18-8), who are expected to earn a bid to next week's NCAA Tournament.
The Volunteers had a chance to take the lead just after Yves Pons' 3-pointer from the top of the key with 41.4 seconds left cut Alabama's advantage to 69-68. Jones drove into traffic at the rim, was blocked by Davonte Gaines and, despite recovering the ball, missed on a second attempt.
Gaines was then fouled by Jones but missed both free throws at the other end keeping Alabama ahead.
Jahvon Quinerly made two free throws at the other end with 15.5 seconds left.
Quinerly finished with 19 points off Alabama's bench. The Tide's reserves outscored Tennessee's bench by a 31-8 margin.
Alex Reese finished with nine points and Ellis hit a key 3-pointer with four minutes left to aid Alabama's comeback.
After Jaden Shackelford scored the first points of the game on a jumper, Alabama did not lead again until 5:25 left in the second half when Quinerly's one-hander in the paint put it ahead 60-59.
Jaden Springer finished with 18 points and Santiago Vescovi had 11 for the Volunteers.
The Crimson Tide played without freshman guard Joshua Primo, who is day-to-day with a sprained MCL.
The Volunteers were without senior forward John Fulkerson, who suffered a facial fracture and a concussion when he was elbowed in the face twice by Florida forward Omar Payne during Friday's quarterfinal.
--Field Level Media
|Keon Johnson 20||Scoring||Herbert Jones 20|
|Santiago Vescovi 4||Assists||Herbert Jones 4|
|Keon Johnson 9||Rebounds||Herbert Jones 13|
|Keon Johnson 3||Free Throws Made||Herbert Jones 8|
|Santiago Vescovi 3||Steals||Herbert Jones 3|
|Davonte Gaines 2||Blocks||Alex Reese 2|