Bama's comeback falls short

Tuscaloosa, Ala. -- Despite overcoming a 20 point second half deficit to tie the game, the University of Alabama men's basketball team (12-10, 4-7 SEC) came up short against the Vanderbilt Commodores, (16-6, 5-6) 70-67 Wednesday night at Coleman Coliseum.

Alabama jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead to start the contest but Vanderbilt's Matt Freije took over scoring 21 points over the next nine minutes in which the Commodores outscored the Tide 30-4 to take a 30-9 lead. Vanderbilt went on to hold a 42-24 halftime advantage.

The second half was a different story as Alabama would rally behind 14 second half points from Chuck Davis. With the Commodores leading by 20, Davis capped a 14-0 Tide run with his first three pointer of the season, cutting Vanderbilt's lead to 46-40.

Freije and Dawid Pryzbyszewski pushed the Vandy lead back to 10 points with 8:54 to play but Emmett Thomas responded for Alabama scoring the next eight points in the game. Chuck Davis capped the Alabama comeback with a dunk and tied the game at 60 with 4:43 remaining.

Alabama ran out of gas at that point as Vanderbilt took a six point lead and the Tide could only manage to close the gap to 66-64 before dropping the decision, 70-67.

Alabama head coach Mark Gottfried was proud of the Tide's character.

"I thought our guys showed tremendous character and heart to come back," Gottfried said. "We just couldn't get over that hump. We got it to 66-60 and just couldn't get a couple more possessions offensively to get over the hump and take the lead."

For the game, Kennedy Winston led Alabama in scoring and rebounding with 17 points and six boards. Davis added 16 points. Earnest Shelton scored 15 in 39 minutes of action and Emmett Thomas scored 11 points, all of which came in the second half.

Freije led Vanderbilt, tying his career high with 32 points. Pryzbyszewski and Corey Smith each added 10 points for the Commodores.

The Tide takes to the road this weekend, traveling to Starkville, Mississippi to take on the Mississippi State Bulldogs. Tip-off for the game is set for 3:00 p.m. The game can be heard on the Crimson Tide Sports Network and can be seen on CBS.

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