Alabama men’s basketball withheld a late push from Vanderbilt, claiming a 77-67 road victory Saturday night. The Crimson Tide improved its record to 15-8 overall and 6-4 in SEC play.
Although the Crimson Tide was a favorite heading into the game, Alabama hadn’t beaten Vanderbilt on its home court since 2013. Alabama was propelled to victory behind strong three-point and free-throw shooting. The Crimson Tide knocked down 12 of its 24 shots from beyond the arc and 18 of its 21 shots from the charity stripe.
“We shot the three extremely well and were very efficient,” Alabama coach Avery Johnson said. “We had great ball movement and player movement. I liked our defense for a long period of time before we gave up a couple of offensive rebounds there, but we haven’t had much success in this building, so I don’t care if it’s a one-point win or a 10-point win. We are fortunate and grateful to win this game because this is a tough place to play.”
Freshman Kira Lewis paced Alabama with 18 points, while the Crimson Tide also received a strong performance from graduate student Riley Norris. Norris recorded his first double-double of the season, scoring 15 points and snagging 12 rebounds.
Although Alabama led for most of the contest, accumulating a 19-point lead at one point, Vanderbilt cut Alabama’s advantage to just five points with only five minutes left. Clutch free throw shooting allowed the Crimson Tide to withstand the Commodore’s comeback.
“We made some mistakes there after we were able to build a 19-point lead, but you have to give our guys credit as well,” Johnson said. “In the last four minutes of the game, we were able to execute.”
Alabama will travel to Starkville next for another road game against Mississippi State. Tipoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. CT.