No. 4 Alabama defeats Vanderbilt 78-66 on the road

Mathey Gibson, Staff Reporter

After an adversity filled weekend, Nate Oats’ squad came away victorious in freshman forward Brandon Miller’s homecoming to Nashville, Tennessee.  

On Tuesday night, No. 4 Alabama defeated the Vanderbilt Commodores 78-66 behind a 30-point, 10-rebound performance from the SEC Player of the Year frontrunner. 

In the aftermath of former Crimson Tide forward Darius Miles’ arrest for capital murder on Sunday, Alabama jumped out of the gate early, boasting a 13-3 lead six minutes into the game.  

While Alabama (16-2, 6-0 SEC) threw the first punch, Vanderbilt (9-9, 2-3 SEC) battled back, nabbing its first lead of the game at the 8:06 mark in the first half behind a three-pointer from Malik Dia, which made the score 22-21 in favor of the Commodores.  

At the break, the Crimson Tide once again found themselves in the driver’s seat, leading 36-26.  

In the second half, Alabama controlled things early, leading by as many as 23.  

While the Crimson Tide seemed to put the game out of reach, Jerry Stackhouse’s team managed to fight back, courtesy of some less-than-inspired basketball on both sides. The Commodores took advantage of a physical game that had been muddied by hustle plays, whistles and a technical foul from Nate Oats. 

With 50 seconds left in the game, the Commodores had cut Alabama’s lead to eight — 68-60. 

Then, the inevitable happened. 

With the game on the line, the ball was in Miller’s hand, and as college basketball is accustomed to seeing, the freshman-sensation delivered, drilling all six of his intentional-foul shots at the line to ice it for the Crimson Tide. 

Joining Miller with a big night was freshman point guard Jaden Bradley, who scored 12 points on 6-for-9 shooting while dishing out three assists.  

“I think we’ve got a pretty mentally tough group, they’re young, but they’re pretty mentally tough,” Oats said postgame. “I think they take things seriously, study the game, I think it shows how mentally tough they are.” 

Now standing at 6-0 in conference play, Alabama controls its destiny in the SEC, maintaining a firm lead on front-runners Texas A&M and Tennessee. After a gritty performance vs. a tough Vanderbilt team, the Crimson Tide will now turn their attention towards a matchup with the Missouri Tigers in Columbia, Missouri.  

Tipoff for No. 4 Alabama and Missouri is set for Saturday, Jan. 21, at 5:00 p.m. CT on SEC Network.  

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