Alabama basketball picked up a big road win in Nashville on Saturday, defeating host Vanderbilt 77-67.
While Alabama at one point held an 18-point lead with 8 minutes and 58 second remaining in the game, Vanderbilt went on a 13-0 run to cut the lead to five. However, the Commodores were unable to get any closer to the Crimson Tide at Memorial Gymnasium.
“Give Vanderbilt credit because they didn’t back down, fought hard and didn’t give up,” Alabama coach Avery Johnson said. “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.
“In the last four minutes of the game, we were able to execute.”
Forward Riley Norris played a huge part in the win for Alabama, registering a double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds. The graduate student scored nine points in the final minutes, halting Vanderbilt’s momentum and securing the victory for the Crimson Tide.
”Riley was huge for us tonight,” Johnson said. “We shot the three extremely well and were very efficient. We had great ball movement and player movement.“
Freshman guard Kira Lewis Jr. also stood out, leading Alabama with 18 points, and going 4-4 from the free-throw line.
As a team, the Crimson Tide recorded a season-high 12 3-pointers, shooting 50 percent from beyond the arc.
On the defensive side, Alabama out-rebounded Vanderbilt 41-32, which led to 12 second-chance points.
“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.” Johnson said. “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.”
It was just the Crimson Tide’s second win in its last 15 trips to Vanderbilt, and first since 2013.
With the win, Alabama is now 15-8, (6-4 SEC). Vanderbilt remains winless in league play at 0-10, with an overall record of 9-14.
Alabama will complete its two-game road swing on Tuesday at Mississippi State. The game is scheduled for an 8 p.m. CT tip (SEC Network).