Same Song

When the Southeastern Conference added two teams and changed the league into two divisions, it meant that Alabama's basketball team had to go to Nashville only every other year. Good thing. Bama's basketball team at Vanderbilt is weaker than the Commodores against the Crimson Tide in football.

It was the same sad song for Alabama's basketball team in Music City Wednesday night. Bama, which has not won in Nashville since 1990, was embarrassed by Vanderbilt, 94-73. That's nine straight Alabama losses to Vanderbilt in Nashville if you are counting.

Coach Mark Gottfried's Tide was lacking in almost every area, but particularly in failing to guard Vandy shooters. Vanderbilt built a huge early lead by making unguarded shots, inside and outside. Offensively, Bama was unable to take advantage of its inside size advantage, and the Tide was careless with the basketball, unforced and barely-forced turnovers leading to points for the Commodores.

The game was essentially over by halftime when Vandy took a 54-37 lead to intermission.

That is correct.

54.

54-37.

Vanderbilt scored 54 points in the first half against an Alabama team that had an open weekend to get rested and get prepared for the Commodores, which is generally considered to be the weakest team in the SEC.

Alabama has a 14-3 overall record, but the Tide is now 1-2 in SEC play. Vanderbilt is 12-6 and is 2-2 in the league.

Bama returns to action at home Saturday, hosting Georgia at 12:30 p.m. CST.

The game was reminiscent of Alabama's SEC-opening game at Arkansas less than two weeks ago when Bama was bounced out of the top ten. Alabama went into the Vanderbilt game ranked 10th in the nation by the Associated Press and ninth in the Coaches Poll.

Alabama fell behind by as many as 22 in the second half, then fought back to within nine with 8:30 to play. That lasted only as long as it took the Commodores to go down court and hit another three-point shot, starting a 16-0 run for Vandy.

There is one person who is particularly fond of the Alabama plan for Vanderbilt. That is Vandy's Shan Foster. He had 30 points against Bama in Tuscaloosa last year. On Wednesday night he lit theTide up for 27.

Alabama got 21 points from Mykal Riley, who had five steals. Jermareo Davidson had 11 points in less than 10 minutes to start the game, finished the first half with 15, hit a three to start the second half for 18. And didn't score another point. Richard Hendrix had 14 and Alonzo Gee 11.

Vandy hit 58 per cent from the field, including 15 of 28, 54 per cent, of its three-point shots. Alabama was good on 36 per cent from the field, including 31 per cent on treys.

Gottfried said, "Our guys played hard. They battled hard. You have to give Vanderbilt credit. They could have beat a lot of teams the way they played tonight. They made tough shots. The story tonight was not us. It was Vanderbilt. We just didn't have an answer for how they shot the ball."


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