The Coleman Coliseum crowd had been treated to a show and Brandon Miller almost finished it off with a bang.
Early in the second half, Miller caught a loose pass and opened up the field. The highlight was ready to go, but a foul on the same Vanderbilt player who lost the ball stopped Miller’s drive just as the rookie threw the ball off the backboard for a so-called alley-oop for himself. The Alabama fans in attendance braced themselves for a roar but then sighed. NBA scouts laughed at the athletic display.
It would be one of the few moments when something went wrong for the nation’s No. 4 team on Tuesday night. A few days after receiving a much-needed wake-up call, Nate Oats received a rash.
The Tide (19-3, 9-0 Southeastern Conference) crushed the Commodores 101-44. It was the largest winning margin for the program in SEC history and matched last year’s win total on the last day of January.
The game was tied at 5 apiece four minutes into the game. That quickly turned into a nearly 20-point margin with seven minutes left in the first half after an effort play. A pair of white jerseys dove on a loose ball, triggering a Miller 3 and the deciding 30-5 run. It was the type of effort Oats was looking for after showing the team a series of Vanderbilt highlights before the game.
“That’s what we’re going to do tonight,” Oats said of the hustle game. “(Noah) Clowney did it a couple of times. We kind of challenged all of our guys. … If we were going to be blue collar and make plays like this, we were going to be rewarded on the other end.
Miller and Nimari Burnett combined for 38 points, the latter sparking the decisive 30-5 run by forcing a few turnovers and hitting a pair of 3s. Mark Sears (eight assists) and Jahvon Quinerly (seven assists) repeatedly created space inside and as a result 3-point shooters found space behind the arc.
Alabama led with 19 3-pointers and 48 points from the bench. It was the deepest balls since 20 converted against LSU on Jan. 14, setting a season high in 3-point field goal percentage (46.3).
A few screens from the ball created several looks past the Vanderbilt bench. It may have been some familiarity — Alabama beat Vandy on the road two weeks ago — but the Tide attack met little resistance.
“I feel like our whole team could really shoot it. It really brings the energy that we need,” said Miller, who wore the team hard hat after the game.
Meanwhile, the Commodores (10-12, 3-6) shot 25 percent from the floor and 3 for 30 from deep, despite the return of one of their best players, seven-footer Liam Robinson from a two-foot injury. weeks. Oats later mentioned “any team with a big decent could go to work” in Alabama, but Clowney and Charles Bediako answered all questions for at least one night. They forced Robinson to miss his first five shots and held Vanderbilt to 18 points in the paint on 15 offensive rebounds.
Alabama pushed into the half court and forced the Commodores to push them back from the dribble. First-year keeper Paul Lewis led the visitors with 10 but Vanderbilt eventually settled for shots further and further from the edge. The second half turned into an athletic encounter as the Tide Alabama generated breakaway fairways, a pair of which were finished by Miller and Bediako.
“They answered the bell after the Oklahoma game,” Oats said. “Obviously have a lot of respect for Vanderbilt so it’s a shame for them that they were the team that followed the Oklahoma game, but I told our guys that we kind of showed them what we were.”
Nick Alvarez is a reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @nick_a_alvarez or email him at NALvarez@al.com.
Alabama Vanderbilt Basketball January 31, 2023