The Alabama men’s basketball team fell to the Vanderbilt Commodores by a final score of 76-68 on Saturday night inside Coleman Coliseum.
The game was decided over the final 4:20, as Vanderbilt went on a 15-5 run to end the contest, turning a 63-61 Alabama lead into an eight-point victory for the Commodores. As a result, Vanderbilt (14-11, 4-8 SEC) secured their first road conference win of the season.
“Give Vanderbilt credit,” head coach Anthony Grant said. “They came in and played awfully well today. Shot the ball extremely well. We weren’t good enough defensively and that really is the story of the game.”
Alabama (15-10, 5-7 SEC) took a one-point lead to the locker room at halftime, 33-32. The Tide was on a 12-3 run when a shooting foul and a technical foul with two seconds left in the half gave Vanderbilt four points off of free throws. Alabama dominated the boards in the first half, securing 10 offensive rebounds to Vanderbilt’s one and putting up a dozen second-chance points.
The game, which featured six ties and 11 lead changes throughout, continued to be close throughout the second half. Alabama led for a majority of the final 20 minutes, but could never pull away as the Commodores had an answer for every Crimson Tide bucket. The teams traded baskets over the next five minutes until Vanderbilt broke away with just over four minutes to play.
Vanderbilt started an 8-0 run with 4:20 left in the game to take a 69-63 lead, but sophomore forward Shannon Hale stopped the run with a three-point basket to keep the Tide within three with 1:34 left to play. However, the Commodores connected on 5-of-6 free throws down the stretch to seal the victory.
Senior guard Levi Randolph scored all of his team-leading 15 points after intermission. Randolph connected on 5-of-7 buckets from the floor, while freshman Justin Coleman added a pair of threes as well.
Hale and Obasohan, who returned to the lineup after missing two games with a right hand infection, each finished with 10 points. Cooper and Coleman finished with seven points each. Cooper now needs just two points to reach 1,000 in his career. Alabama, which outrebounded Vanderbilt 38-30, had five players with five or more rebounds led by freshman Riley Norris’ eight boards. Randolph collected seven while Hale and Jimmie Taylor each grabbed six.
“Our guys have to understand and have to get to the point where we realize the magnitude of our effort and our focus and what we really value every time we step in between the lines,” Grant said. “Today we didn’t do what I felt like we were capable of today. Again, I don’t want to take anything away from Vanderbilt’s effort. I thought they were really good, but we’ve got to be a lot better than that from a defensive standpoint if we expect to be able to win.”
The Commodores’ 76 points are the most the Tide has allowed at home since Jan. 25 of last year when they gave up 80 to LSU.
The Commodores were led by Damian Jones’ 20 points and James Siakam’s six rebounds. Vanderbilt had five players score in double-digits.
Alabama will play its third road game in four contests when it travels for a rematch against in-state rival Auburn next Tuesday night. Tipoff for Tuesday’s contest is set for 8 p.m. CT and will air on ESPNU.
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