Memorial Gym has been a house of horrors for Alabama basketball as long as any of us can remember, but they managed to hang on and knock off a hot Vanderbilt squad
The first half was ugly enough to make you reach for the eye bleach. JD Davison got the start at the point and led the team with an impressive nine points and seven boards before the break. Unfortunately, he also led the team with five turnovers against only one assist. It was more of what we’ve been accustomed to seeing from Alabama on the road this season: too many turnovers, too many fouls, poor shooting, and a five point halftime deficit.
Alabama played much better offensively in the second half. They managed to get out in transition a bit more, the spacing was much better, they managed to hold the turnovers down and the ball movement improved. As a result, the Tide got better looks at the hoop which led to more makes. Jahvon Quinerly played very limited minutes in the first half but was on fire in the second and ended up leading the team in scoring with 19. Alabama built a double digit lead and looked like they were going to win going away, but inside four minutes they kept fouling and allowed Vandy to free throw their way back into it. Fortunately the Tide managed to score just enough to keep the Commodores at bay.
It wasn’t pretty, but if nothing else they went on the road and managed to win a lower scoring game, which is encouraging. Nate Oats asked for more defensive intensity from his team, and he got it. Had they taken better care of the ball in the first half, this one could have been much more comfortable.
As we’ve said many times this year, a win is a win. Alabama now has 18 wins on the season with three games left, all of which are winnable if they play the way they are capable. As we know by now, that prospect is hit or miss.