Alabama Men’s Basketball Falls at Vanderbilt, 71-63
The Alabama men’s basketball team dropped Saturday’s game at Vanderbilt, 71-63. The Tide connected on just 7-of-20 free throws (32 percent) and was 6-of-20 (32 percent) from beyond the arc en route to its 12th loss in its last 13 contests at Memorial Gymnasium.
Alabama (10-6, 1-3 SEC) kept the game close through the first half. After falling behind early, the Tide used a 6-0 run to tie the game at 14-14 with 9:45 on the clock. Vanderbilt (10-7, 2-3 SEC) immediately answered with an 8-0 run of its own to take a 23-16 lead. However, Alabama responded with another 6-0 run to pull within one point at the 4:54 mark. The teams were never separated by more than three points again in the first half.
Junior forward Shannon Hale scored 11 of his team-leading 13 points in the first half. Alabama outscored the Commodores 24-6 in the paint, recorded three blocks, and led the rebounding battle 17-14 at halftime.
Vanderbilt began the second half on a 10-1 run to take an 11-point lead, 43-32, with 15:02 left in the game. The Tide trailed by as many as 16 points, 63-47 with 3:02 left, before a late rally trimmed the Commodores’ lead to single digits in the final seconds.
“I thought the first 10 minutes of the second half was once again our downfall,” head coach Avery Johnson said. “That’s been our Achilles heel throughout the season, even in games we’ve won. I thought in our last game against South Carolina, we put together two solid halves, but couldn’t do that tonight. Vanderbilt is a well-coached team and they have some very talented players. We just couldn’t sustain a consistent effort throughout the game.”
Vanderbilt had a big advantage at the free throw line, hitting 22-of-36 from the charity stripe compared to 7-of-20 free throws made for Alabama. The Tide won the battle of the boards, 39-29, marking the first time it has lost a game when outrebounding the competition (5-1).
Hale’s 13 points led the Tide’s offense, while Arthur Edwards (12) and Retin Obasohan (10) also finished in double figures. Jimmie Taylor also had a solid game, closing with eight points and team highs of nine rebounds and three blocked shots.
Riley LaChance scored 18 to lead Vanderbilt, while Jeff Roberson added 16 and 11 rebounds.
The Tide will be back on the road Tuesday, Jan. 19, to take on rival Auburn. Tipoff against the Tigers is set for 8 p.m. CT on SEC Network.