New Weapon May Have Been Found
Alabama let a seven-point halftime lead get away, made a furious comeback that came up just short, and fell to Vanderbilt in Nashville, 79-74. The Crimson Tide, the favorite to win the Southeastern Conference Western Division in pre-season polls, is now 3-5 in SEC games and 13-9 overall. Vanderbilt improved to 14-8 and 3-5.
Alabama next goes to league-leading (6-1) LSU for a noon Sunday game. Bama gave the Tigers their only loss of conference play when the Tide took a 65-59 win in Tuscaloosa on January 11.
The best news for Alabama Thursday night was the three-point shooting of junior guard Anthony Brock. The 5-9, 165-pound junior college transfer had been signed by former Tide Coach Mark Gottfried as insurance in case Ron Steele was unable to play this year. Steele came back, Brock was put at the very end of the bench and forgotten, Steele quit, and Gottfried was forced to resign.
Interim Coach Philip Pearson made the decision to play more men, and on Thursday night in Nashville Brock may have earned more than just playing time.
Five Crimson Tide players scored in double figures, led by Brock's 15 points. All of his points came from beyond the three-point line, hitting 5-6 after making 6-15 coming into the night. Freshman JaMychal Green posted a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Alabama built a seven-point halftime lead at 43-36 with forward Demetrius Jemison coming off the bench to score seven points and grab five rebounds. Five minutes into the second half Vandy had taken the lead at 50-49. While Alabama was going some nine minutes between field goals and scoring only six points in that time, Vandy moved out to an 11-point lead at 64-53.
Vanderbilt's rally included making eight unguarded shots, five of them three-point shots.
Alabama answered with three-pointers of their own in the final six minutes. Brock hit three of his five treys and Andrew Steele had another as Bama cut the lead to two points with three minutes to play at 76-74.
Vanderbilt scored only three more points in those final three minutes as the Commodores missed four free throws.
But Alabama scored zero points in the last three minutes and was able to get off few shots owing to turnovers.
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