I really hate when Alabama has to play in Memorial Gymnasium. Sure, Vanderbilt is certifiably awful, but who didn’t absolutely know going in that Alabama was going to be totally stupid.
Things actually started really well for the Tide, as junior John Petty, Jr. rocketed out five 3-pointers in the first 14 minutes of the game, going 5/7 from three point range in the first half. Alabama led by as much as 12 points after Petty’s flurry of points, but a late-half cold spell aided by way too many turnovers (including 3 horrible and lazy stolen passes right after inbounds/rebounds) allowed the Commodores to climb back into the game and cut the lead to only two points until Jaden Shackelford hit a 3-pointer to give Alabama a little breathing room going in to half time.
After a quick dunk from Alex Reese to start the second half, it was another 4 minutes before the Tide could score again. Despite their discombobulation on offense for nearly the entire second half, Alabama did continue to consistently add points to their total while Vanderbilt just flat out couldn’t score. A couple of short-lived hot streaks from Alabama got them up to a 20 point margin that they held on to for most the rest of the game until at the very end, when they forgot how to complete a pass for the last couple of minutes and Vandy trimmed some points off the lead.
Giving away 25 turnovers and having 13 less shots than the other team is a very good way to get yourself beat, but Alabama was fortunate enough to be facing a Vanderbilt team that just couldn’t do much with the gifts they were given. They shot only 30% overall and 19% from three point range, while Alabama was at a much more respectable 46% and 35% (a number mostly buoyed by Petty’s ridiculous first half). Alabama also had a significant advantage in rebounding (51-32), keeping the possession numbers from getting too askew from all the turnovers.
Petty was the main man this game, leading the team with 23 points and getting a double-double with a team-high 10 rebounds. He had 6 of the team’s turnovers, but going 50% from the three point line on 10 attempts makes that a bit forgivable.
Kira Lewis had 16 points, but was a turnover machine (7) and seemed to be playing rather out of control all game long. He’s been in a bit of a funk for a few games now, so hopefully he shakes whatever that is soon.
Shakelford had some timely shots to get up to 15 points, and Herbert Jones racked up 10 points (mostly on free throws) to round out the Tide players in double digits.
So, it was ugly, Alabama’s offense couldn’t stop tripping over themselves, and the game moved along in fits and starts. And the Tide still won by 15 points. Sure, it helped that Vanderbilt is just... not good. But coming away from Memorial with a victory is impressive in it’s own right. That place just does things to this team.
The biggest news is that Javian Davis went down in the second half with an apparent knee injury and had to be carried off the court. Coach Oats said that Davis will have an MRI tomorrow. Here’s to hoping it isn’t a season-ender. Alabama is already short on forwards as it is.
For now, though, just enjoy the fact that, despite looking horrible most of the game, Alabama blew out someone. Who would have thought we’d ever see that under the previous two coaching regimes?