“It was a tale of two halves,” Alabama Coach Anthony Grant said. “Vanderbilt in the second half was outstanding. From an offensive standpoint we had a tough time getting stops and matching up. They did a great job with the ball movement and being able to get threes. The run they went on in the second half, obviously you look at it and we weren’t able to handle that. I thought earlier in the half we got some good looks that we couldn’t get to fall to answer their run. Give them credit, I thought their defensive intensity picked up and forced us into some turnovers that we didn’t commit in the first half, which led to opportunities for them.”
Alabama played a near flawless first half to build an impressive 38-27 halftime lead, and Bama had a 14-point lead before Vandy hit a late three-point shot. However, Vanderbilt began the second half on a 20-3 run over the first 9:13 to seize a 47-41 lead with 10:47 remaining in the contest. The Commodores (17-9, 7-9) were red-hot to start the half, hitting six of their first seven three-point attempts.
Alabama stayed within striking distance, cutting the Vanderbilt lead to three points on a couple of occasions. However, the Commodores knocked down 18-of-21 free throws in the second half, including 12 consecutive down over the final 6:48, to seal the victory.
“We weren’t in a fouling situation so they got 25 free throws (for the game) to our 10,” Grant said. “There’s a big difference there. Down the stretch it was a two possession game with a couple of minutes to play and we needed to put up some stops and get some rebounds, but we weren’t able to do that. You have to give Vanderbilt some credit.”
Alabama started the game out strong on the back of its defense, holding Vanderbilt scoreless until its seventh possession of the contest. The Tide forced six turnovers, recording five steals, and scored 10 points off turnovers in the first half to the Commodores one.
With the Tide leading 16-13 with 8:36 left in the opening stanza, Alabama went on a 13-3 run over the next 3:51 to take a 29-16 lead. As a result, Alabama held a 38-27 at halftime. It was the Tide’s highest scoring first half in conference play this year.
Junior guard Retin Obasohan led Alabama with 16 points, 13 of which came in the opening 20 minutes. Senior guard Levi Randolph finished with 13 points, Rodney Cooper scored 12 and Michael Kessens added 10 points off the bench to give the Tide four players in double-digits. Riley Norris secured a team-leading 10 rebounds.
Wade Baldwin IV led the Commodores with 15 points on 4-of-5 shooting from behind the arc. Vanderbilt also finished with four players in double-digits and made 11 three-pointers.
The Crimson Tide returns home for the final time this season on Tuesday. Alabama will face the Ole Miss Rebels on Senior Day at 6 p.m. CST in Coleman Coliseum.