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Alabama Basketball nearly blows it against Vanderbilt, but ekes out the win

Final score 68-61

NCAA Basketball: Alabama at Vanderbilt Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

It was nice to finally slow down the bleeding that’s come from three bad losses straight to the gut in a row.

After looking totally listless for two weeks, Alabama opened against a very overmatched Vanderbilt squad with the kind of energy we haven’t seen since, well, the last time they played Vandy.

Tevin Mack knocked down 2 three-point shots in quick succession to start off the contest, and was followed up by Donta Hall and Dazon Ingram combining for 4 dunks in a row. Hall also blocked three shots in the span of just a few minutes while slamming those dunks home. Then Riley Norris hit back-to-back three-point shots, and Alabama was leading 25-6 and on pace to score 100.

Then Kira Lewis got in on the back-to-back action with a pair of 3-pointers, and Alabama broke the 30 point mark before Vanderbilt even got into double digits. The Commodores did manage to slow down the Tide at the end of the half, though, and cut the lead to 15 points as the Tide couldn’t manage a a point for the final three and a half minutes.

Hall, Ingram, and Lewis all scored early in the second half to boost the Tide back to a solid 20 point lead, and the two teams hovered in the 16-20 point spread over the next few minutes before Alabama went on a 6-minute scoring drought. Fortunately, Vanderbilt still isn’t very good, but they did cut the lead to 10 points with 7 minutes to play. Alabama managed to scrounge up just enough free throws and a couple of disjointed buckets to stay ahead and win the game, but only scoring 11 points over the final 12 minutes of the game was akin to playing with matches while rolling around in a nice puddle of kerosene.

Kira Lewis led the team with 19 points. He was 4/8 from three-point range and was generally the spark that made the offense work. When he was on, the team kept going. When he was off, Alabama didn’t score.

Donta Hall had another double-double, racking up 14 points to go with 11 rebounds. Dazon Ingram also had one of his better games in an Alabama uniform, getting a double-double of his own with 13 points and 10 rebounds. He also led the team with 6 assists.

Nobody else had double-digits. John Petty was 0/7 on the night with a nice, big goose egg. Despite that, he played really well off the ball and making passes

There isn’t a whole lot else to say or take away from this game. Alabama started with the energy they’ve lacked over the past three games and jumped out to a big lead, but fell flat in most of the second half and survived only because Vanderbilt just is not good. It was nice to win and stop the free falling of the previous few games, but it was a win that left a bad taste in my mouth.

A loss likely would have effectively ended Alabama’s chances at the NCAA tournament. That didn’t happen, but this win didn’t exactly improve the Tide’s chances either, more just kept them suspended where they are... right on the bubble.

Here’s to hoping for a strong end of the season. Roll Tide.