Alabama Outlasts Vanderbilt, 77-67, on the Road Saturday Night
The Alabama men’s basketball team used three-point shooting and clutch free throws down the stretch to capture a 77-67 victory at Vanderbilt on Saturday night. It was just the Crimson Tide’s second win in its last 15 trips to Memorial Gymnasium – and first since 2013 – as UA captured its second straight SEC win to improve to 15-8 overall and 6-4 in league play.
Alabama drained 12 three-pointers and shot 50 percent (12-of-24) from beyond the arc on the night, both of which are season highs. The Tide also knocked down 17-of-21 (81 percent) from the charity stripe to secure the third true road win of the season and second in conference play.
Freshman Kira Lewis Jr. led Alabama with 18 points in the game, while graduate student Riley Norris registered his first double-double of the season, posting 15 points and 12 rebounds. Junior Dazon Ingram added 12 points including a perfect 3-of-3 from beyond the arc.
Alabama led for 36 minutes of the game and improves to 15-3 when scoring over 70 points in a game.
“Give Vanderbilt credit because they didn’t back down, fought hard and didn’t give up,” Alabama head coach Avery Johnson said. “We made some mistakes there after we were able to build a 19-point lead, but you have to give our guys credit as well. In the last four minutes of the game, we were able to execute. Riley was huge for us tonight. We shot the three extremely well and were very efficient. We had great ball movement and player movement. I liked our defense for a long period of time before we gave up a couple of offensive rebounds there, but we haven’t had much success in this building, so I don’t care if it’s a one-point win or a 10-point win. We are fortunate and grateful to win this game because this is a tough place to play.”
Alabama took control of the contest midway through the first half. Holding on to a 21-18 lead at the 7:59 mark of the opening stanza, the Tide scored nine of the next 10 points and grabbed a 30-19 lead with 5:39 left to play in the half. Alabama would take a 38-31 lead at intermission.
The Tide jumped out to early in the second half, outscoring the Commodores (9-14, 0-10 SEC) 25-12 over the first 9:23 to build a 19-point cushion, 62-43. However, Vanderbilt responded by going on a 17-3 run over the next 4:03 to trim the lead to 65-60 with just over five minutes left in regulation.
After both teams missed a pair of baskets, Norris was fouled on a three-point attempt and made all three shots from the charity stripe to give the Tide an eight-point advantage. From there, the Tide made 10 of its final 12 free throws to seal its first win at Vanderbilt since 2013.
Alabama held a 26-12 advantage for points coming off the bench. The Crimson Tide also held the advantage on rebounds, 41-32, leading to 12 second chance points.
Alabama stays on the road when it travels to Starkville, Miss., as it squares off against Mississippi State on Tuesday night. The game will tipoff at 8 p.m. CT and will be televised on SEC Network.
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