Alabama drops SEC Tournament opener against Vanderbilt
TAMPA, Fla. – The Alabama men’s basketball team fell to Vanderbilt, 82-76, in the second round of the Southeastern Conference Tournament Thursday night in Amalie Arena. The Crimson Tide led by as many as 15 points early in the second half but allowed the Commodores to score 54 second half points to result in the team’s third consecutive loss.
Jaden Shackelford led Alabama with 21 points, making 6-of-16 shots from beyond the arc, while Jahvon Quinerly added 13 points, five rebounds and four assists.
Scotty Pippen Jr. connected on only 5-of-19 shots on the night but scored a game-high 26 points as a direct result of drawing 12 fouls and knocking down 15-of-21 free throws in the contest. Myles Stute added 18 points off the strength of six three-pointers.
HEAD COACH NATE OATS POSTGAME COMMENTS
“I give Vanderbilt a lot of credit. They were down 15 in the second half. They stayed with it and fought hard. They’re a tough team. It took everything we had to beat them at their place. We knew it would be a tough game. You have to do a lot of stuff to win games at this level, not just play hard. I thought our guys gave an effort, but we had 18 turnovers, couldn’t make a free throw, didn’t shoot the ball particularly well. We didn’t do a very good job guarding without fouling. We gave up 54 points in the second half, and you look at how they got them. They hit six threes. I didn’t think we did a great job at the scouting report on some of the threes they got off. They run good actions. They got some off that. Stute is obviously a good shooter, and we just kept fouling. Pippen, I mean, he is a good player. He picks up fouls a lot and we didn’t do a very good job of guarding him without fouling. A combination of all of that. We gave up a 15-point lead, and that’s a tough way to lose to go out after some of the wins we’ve had this year and know what we’re capable of doing. We lost three in a row now. We have to regroup and get ready for the NCAA Tournament.”
Alabama led for 34:27 of the contest while Vanderbilt had the lead for just 3:43
Vanderbilt capitalized on Alabama’s 18 turnovers by scoring 16 points compared to seven points scored by the Tide off the Commodores’ 11 turnovers
Alabama outrebounded Vandy, 52-34, with the 52 rebounds being the most in a game this year
The Tide owned a 26-13 edge in points off the bench
The Tide opened the game with an 11-3 spurt as UA went 4-of-8 from the floor and led 8-2 off the glass over the first 3:15 of the game
Vanderbilt responded with an 8-2 run over the next 1:31 to bring the game to 13-11 but Alabama would score 11 of the next 14 points for a 24-14 lead with 8:35 on the clock
The two teams would trade points until the end of the half with Alabama holding a 10-point lead going into the break
Shackelford hit four shots from distance as he led Alabama with 14 points in the half
UA paced the half in rebounds, 24-17, points off the bench, 11-5, and points in the paint, 16-6
Alabama paced the opening seven minutes of action, outscoring Vanderbilt 13-8 to build its largest lead of the contest at 51-36 with just over 14 minutes to play
Back-to-back threes from Stute began a game-changing 15-2 run by the Commodores to cut the score to 53-51 with 10:55 to play
Vanderbilt tied the game off a pair of free throws, 57-57, with 9:11 to play, however three made free throws from Ellis and an and-1 from Jusaun Holt put UA up 63-57 at the under eight-minute timeout
The Commodores captured their first lead of the game at 68-67 after three made free throws from Rodney Chatman, who moments later, hit a three to give Vandy the lead for good at 71-68
Quinerly tallied nine points to lead UA in the half as Shackelford added seven points
Alabama will await selection for the NCAA Tournament, which is scheduled to air Sunday at 5 p.m. CT on CBS
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