Alabama men's hoops served up a thrilling effort last night in Coleman Colesium but was unable to hold off Vanderbilt down the stretch.The Crimson Tide fell 65-64 to the Commodores - their first loss against a conference foe this basketball season.
The defeat puts Alabama's at 1-1 in SEC play and an overall 11-5 record. The Commodore's earned their seventh victory in a row, earning them at 13-3 overall record and 2-0 in conference play.
The first half saw the Crimson Tide with their offense clicking on all cylinders and Alabama grabbed the lead with an opening three pointer and held it well into the second half - leading by as much as 10 points two minutes into the period. But then errant shooting and foul woes collided with a Commodore rally.
Alabama tallied 15-of-26 (57.7%) shooting in the first period but watched it collapse to 10-of-27 (37%) in the second. Still, the offensive effort allowed Alabama senior guard Mikhail Torrance to ring up a game-high 23 points.
The final five minutes of the game saw Vanderbilt nailing one clutch shot after another including a key a 15-footer by point guard Jermaine Beal with 46 seconds to play. The game came down to the Commodore's Jeffrey Taylor who nailed a free throw with six seconds left sealed the game.
Alabama's defense was able to hold the Commodores to 39.2 percent shooting on the night - the fourth straight opponent to shoot less than 40 percent against the Tide.
For more on the game head over to Alabama Basketball Blogs (Who are tres pissed at the officiating. Alabama was awarded 20 fewer free throws than Vandy.) Our own Zoltar posted a live thread in the FanPosts worthy of checking out. And you should also pop into SB Nation Vanderbilt blog Anchor of Gold who live blogged the effort.
Alabama's continues it's SEC slate on Saturday as they go on the road to face the Arkansas Razorbacks in Fayetteville's Bud Walton Arena. Tip-off set for 12:30 p.m.
::UPDATE:: Anchor of Gold has their post-game recap up. 1/14/09 5:46 p.m.