The Alabama men's basketball team used an 18-3 run to end the game and stunned Vanderbilt, 58-54, on Saturday. With the win, the Crimson Tide snapped an 11-game losing streak in Memorial Gym in Nashville, Tennessee.
The last UA victory over Vanderbilt on its home court came when Wimp Sanderson led his team to a 65-56 win on Feb. 3, 1990.
"That was a big time win today by our guys," UA head coach Anthony Grant said. "I thought the fight in the second half; the resiliency was awesome. Andrew Steele, our senior, did a tremendous job throughout the game, keeping our guys focused and motivated and on-task in terms of what we needed to do. We always talk about it being a 40-minute game that we have to play, stay the course and play all the way through.
"I couldn't be prouder of our team. This was a big road win for us. We all know the history of this series. The University of Alabama's last win here was in 1990, and we're happy for our team and our players, as well as all the players that came before these guys. I'm not trying to overdramatize it, but it was important to us to come in here and play well today."
Sophomore guard Trevor Lacey had 17 points, including nine in the last five minutes, while senior guard Andrew Steele had a season-high 13 points off the bench. With the victory, Alabama improves to 14-7 overall and 6-2 in Southeastern Conference play.
It wasn't an easy victory for Alabama, as Vanderbilt (8-12, 2-6 SEC) led by as many as 11 points, 51-40, with 7:10 remaining. However, the Crimson Tide took its first lead of the contest when Trevor Lacey hit a three point shot with 58 seconds left to make the score 56-54. From there, UA hit clutch free throws to make it a two possession ball game and secure the win.
Vanderbilt shot 57.9 percent (11-19) in the first half and was 5-7 (71.4 percent) from behind the three point line, which helped the Commodores to an eight-point halftime lead, 31-23.
But once again, Alabama turned up its defensive pressure and outscored Vanderbilt, 35-23, over the final 20 minutes. The Crimson Tide forced Vanderbilt into 17 turnovers, 13 of which came after intermission, and collected 12 steals, with nine of those coming in the second half.
It was the 14th time in UA's 21 games that it has outscored the opposition in the second half and the third time in its last four wins that the Tide has overcome a double-digit deficit in order to get the victory.
The Crimson Tide improved to 13-2 this season when forcing eight or more steals in a game.
Vanderbilt outshot Alabama 48.7 percent (19-39) to 38 percent (19-50), and outrebounded Alabama 31-27. However, Alabama had more second chance points (10-2) and more points off turnovers (18-14).
Sophomore guard Rodney Cooper had 11 to go along with a team-high seven rebounds. Vanderbilt's guard Kedren Johnson lead the Commodores with 15 points, seven rebounds and four blocked shots.
The Crimson Tide will next be in action on Wednesday night when it travels to take on the Auburn Tigers. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m. and will be televised on the SEC Network.
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