Alabama, a 34 percent 3-point shooting team coming in, found Nashville’s Memorial Gymnasium to its liking, hitting 50 percent behind the arc in a 77-67 victory at Vanderbilt on Saturday night.
Point guard Kira Lewis Jr. scored 18 for Alabama (15-8, 6-4 Southeastern Conference) and added a game-high four assists. Guard Riley Norris scored 15 points with 12 rebounds off the bench, and guard Dazon Ingram, 12, for Alabama.
Alabama’s victory extended Vanderbilt’s (9-14, 0-10) losing streak to 11 games. Point guard Saben Lee led Vandy with 24 points, and forward Simi Shittu added 11.
Vanderbilt seemed content to let the Crimson Tide win from the outside. Alabama obliged, hitting a dozen 3s.
The Commodores, outside of Lee, struggled to find sustained success against Alabama’s physical defense inside.
An 11-4 run to start the second half, ending with a wide-open 3 by Lewis, extended Alabama’s lead to 49-35.
When Ingram hit a wide-open 3 from the top of the key off a kick-out from forward Daniel Giddens, the lead was 62-43 with 10:40 left.
Vanderbilt made a 13-0 run, starting with forward Joe Toye’s 3-pointer with 8:19 left after the Commodores had just gone down by 18. The run ended when Shittu fouled Norris on a 3 with 2:13 left, and the senior hit all three free throws.
After Lee answered with two free throws, Norris landed the dagger, a 3 from straight away with 1:48 left before blocking a shot on the other end.
Vandy could not get over the hump thanks to poor free-throw shooting (60.7 percent on 28 tries), a continual theme over its losing streak.
Alabama led 38-31 at halftime, thanks to 13 points from Lewis on 5-for-6 shooting. On the defensive end, Alabama’s Giddens and forward Donta Hall made life tough inside, and the Crimson Tide closed out well against Vandy’s perimeter shooters.
Other than ties and an early 5-4 VU lead, Alabama led the entire game and took its first double-digit lead when Hall hit a step-back 3 at the 5:44 mark.
Vanderbilt honored David Williams with a moment of silence before the game, as well as with black bands on its uniforms. Williams, who had officially or unofficially served as VU’s athletic director from 2003 until he relinquished duties to Malcolm Turner on Feb. 1 of this year, died unexpectedly on Friday.
—Field Level Media