No. 4 Alabama tries to bounce back, sweep Vanderbilt

No. 4 Alabama will look to bounce back from its most lopsided loss of the season by knocking off visiting Vanderbilt for the second time in less than two weeks in Southeastern Conference play on Tuesday in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

The Crimson Tide (18-3, 8-0 SEC) saw their nine-game winning streak ended with a 93-69 loss at Oklahoma in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge on Saturday.

Vanderbilt (10-11, 3-5) dropped its second straight game, a 72-66 loss at Texas A&M, on Saturday.

Oklahoma ended the first half on a 15-7 run to take a 50-33 halftime lead before the Sooners’ lead ballooned to as many as 32 points in the second half.

Rylan Griffen, who averages 6.4 points per game, scored a team-high 15, while Brandon Miller, who averages a team-high 19.0 points per game, was held to 11 points on 4-of-14 shooting against Oklahoma.

Mark Sears, who averages 14.0 points per game, shot 4-of-10 and finished with 11 points, with Noah Clowney, who averages 10.1 points per game, adding 10 points on 3-of-10 shooting against the Sooners.

The Crimson Tide’s No. 2 ranking was its highest ever after New Year’s Day in a season and its highest since being ranked atop the poll Dec. 30, 2002.

“Our guys aren’t accustomed to being ranked second in the country this late in the year,” Alabama coach Nate Oats said. “They literally stormed the floor after the game. The team’s going to be ready. The fans are going to be ready. Everybody’s going to be ready. … I don’t think we realize we’re getting everybody’s ‘A’ game and our defense was nowhere close to where it needed to be to compete in this game.”

The Commodores’ loss was much closer.

Vanderbilt trailed by 13 with 8:29 remaining before going on 15-1 run to take a 66-65 lead following Tyrin Lawrence’s two free throws with 2:59 left. But the Aggies responded by ending the game on a 7-0 run to remain within a game of first place in the SEC standings.

Myles Stute tied a career best by making seven 3-pointers in 14 attempts to finish with a game-high and career-high 22 points, while Jordan Wright added 15 points and five rebounds and Trey Thomas chipped in 13 points and five rebounds.

“Both teams came out and competed really hard. It came down to execution,” Vanderbilt coach Jerry Stackhouse said. “I didn’t think we were great in our late game execution. That’s both on both ends, offensively and they had a couple of key plays down the stretch where we didn’t really get looks at the basket.”

Vanderbilt continues to struggle without Liam Robbins, the team’s leading scorer (13.2 points per game) and rebounder (5.9), who hasn’t played since Jan. 14. He’s expected to remain sidelined a few more weeks with a bone bruise and foot sprain.

Wright averages 10.8 points and 4.3 rebounds per game, with Lawrence averaging 10.7 points and 3.5 rebounds per game. Stute averages 10.4 and 5.3 rebounds per game.

Alabama defeated host Vanderbilt 78-66 in the team’s first meeting on Jan. 17 in Nashville.

The Crimson Tide led by 10 at halftime and by as many as 23 in the second half.

Miller scored a game-high 30 points, while Jaden Bradley and Noah Gurley added 12 points apiece.

Vanderbilt was led by Lawrence and Wright, who scored 20 and 15 points, respectively.

–Field Level Media