Cleaning the Glass: Alabama

Jan. 2, 2018

By Zac Ellis

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A Vanderbilt basketball game came down to the final moments on Tuesday. This time, the Commodores survived.

Alabama rallied from 15 points down to make it a one-point game with 46 seconds to play, but Vanderbilt held on for a 76-75 win over the Crimson Tide in the Dores’ SEC home opener at Memorial Gym.

Here’s how it went down:

THE SKINNY: Vanderbilt senior Matthew Fisher-Davis didn’t start, but he checked in about three minutes into the game and made an immediate impact. Fisher-Davis drilled his first two 3-pointers to give the Dores an early 18-13 lead. But it was freshman Saben Lee who kept Vanderbilt ahead at half. After Alabama tied things up 31-31, Lee scored the final 12 points of the half to send the Dores into the break leading 43-33. However, the Crimson Tide weren’t finished and whittled Vanderbilt’s lead to one with under a minute to play. But the Commodores managed to stiff-arm the visiting squad’s rally and secure their first SEC win.

TURNING POINT: Sexton dropped in a jumper with 46 seconds to play that sliced Vanderbilt’s once-sizable lead to 74-73. On the ensuing possession, Commodores’ center Djery Baptiste hauled in a loose ball and laid it in the basket to give Vanderbilt a 76-73 advantage with 18 ticks left. Despite a Sexton layup on Alabama’s next possession, the Crimson Tide ran out of time for last-ditch bucket following a Jeff Roberson missed free throw on Vanderbilt's final possession.

IMPACT PLAYER: Saben Lee. The freshman guard helped turn the tide early, scoring 12 straight points just before half to give Vanderbilt a 10-point lead at the break. Lee also had a big layup with 1:40 to play that helped keep the Dores in the game. The freshman finished with a team-high 23 points on 7-14 shooting.

STARTLING STAT: 42 – Alabama’s points in the paint. The Crimson Tide outscored Vanderbilt 42-20 in the paint, but the Commodores made up for it by shooting 10-25 from 3-point land and hitting 20-26 of their free throws.

WHAT IT MEANS: Vanderbilt earns its biggest victory of the season. The Commodores improve to 6-8 overall on the year – but, more importantly, 1-1 in SEC play. Alabama represents Vandy’s first top-50 win of the season.

WHAT’S NEXT: Vanderbilt hits the road to take on South Carolina on Saturday. Tipoff is set for 5:45 p.m. CT on SEC Network.

Zac Ellis is the Writer and Digital Media Editor for Vanderbilt Athletics.


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