Alabama routs Vanderbilt 101-44 for largest win over SEC foe
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Brandon Miller scored 22 points to help No. 4 Alabama rout Vanderbilt 101-44 on Tuesday night for the Crimson Tide’s largest margin of victory over an SEC opponent ever.
Alabama (19-3, 9-0 SEC) shot 59% from the field and 46% from 3-point range to pull off the fourth largest win in school history.
“We tell our guys frequently to lose yourself in the game and the offense will take care of itself,” Alabama coach Nate Oats said. “The more you worry about how many shots you’re getting or if your shot’s going in, to me, that stuff backfires. The way you make shots is you get in the gym and work your tail off. All of our guys got in extra time with our assistants.”
Nimari Burnett added 16 points, his first points after three scoreless games since returning from injury on Jan. 21. Three more Alabama players cracked double-digit points: Rylan Griffen with 12, Noah Gurley with 11 and Charles Bediako with 10.
Mark Sears led all players with eight assists to go with nine points.
Vanderbilt (10-12, 3-6) struggled mightily in the first half, shooting 15% (5-for-33). Freshman Paul Lewis was Vanderbilt’s lone double-digit scorer with 10 points.
“Wrong team at the wrong time,” Vanderbilt coach Jerry Stackhouse said.
LIAM ROBBINS RETURNS
Vanderbilt forward Liam Robbins scored nine points and added seven rebounds in his return to action after missing four games with an ankle injury. The Commodores lost three of the four games they played without Robbins, their leading scorer and rebounder.
I thought we would have some energy with Liam being back in the lineup,” Stackhouse said. “I thought we had a spirited practice, good energy in shoot around this morning. I really can’t put my finger on why we were a step slow in everything we did tonight.”
This was Alabama’s first game after seeing its nine-game winning streak snapped in a 93-69 loss to Oklahoma, a loss that followed a poor performance in a narrow win over Mississippi State. Oats thought the team had lost its edge; Tuesday’s performance suggests the Crimson Tide might have it back, thoroughly handling a Vanderbilt team that has a win over a ranked team in conference play, beating Arkansas on Jan. 14.
“I told our guys nationally we’re being questioned as soft,” Oats said. “I think they answered the bell. They got the message. They really coached each other in the last three days, to be honest. They’re a great group and the kind of talked among themselves of who they want to be, how they want to get better, and they did.”
Burnett confirmed the loss to Oklahoma is what brought the team to its renewed state of determination.
“It was really that we didn’t play hard,” Burnett said. “We were complacent. We needed that loss, it’s helping us get better. It revealed some things we need to work on.”
Vanderbilt starts a two-game home stand by hosting Ole Miss on Saturday.
Alabama travels to LSU on Saturday after beating the Tigers by 40 on Jan. 14.
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