Balanced attack leads 'Dores to first SEC road win


TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) Damian Jones and Vanderbilt didn’t pack the emotional baggage from a painful overtime loss for their subsequent road trip.

Jones scored 20 points to lead five scorers in double figures and the Commodores beat Alabama 76-68 on Saturday night to rebound strongly from a mid-week loss to rival Tennessee.

Vandy (14-11, 4-8 Southeastern Conference) had been 0-5 in SEC road games, but took over a tight game in the final 4 minutes. They’ve won three of four since a seven-game losing streak.

“I was asked the question a lot after Wednesday night until (Saturday) even, ‘How are your guys going to be able to bounce back from the tough loss to Tennessee?'” Commodores coach Kevin Stallings said. “There’s just an expectation that you have to bounce back, you have to come out and play the next game and you have to play well. Fortunately we did.

“I thought our guys looked really tired but they fought through and showed a lot of toughness to me.”

Matthew Fisher-Davis scored 13 points and hit three 3-pointers for Vandy. Luke Kornet and Riley LaChance each scored 12 while Wade Baldwin IV had 10 points and six assists.

The Tide (15-10, 5-7) faded down the stretch after coming in with a 12-2 record at Coleman Coliseum.

Alabama’s Levi Randolph was scoreless for the first 26 minutes but finished with 15 points and seven rebounds. Shannon Hale and Retin Obasohan scored 10 points apiece.

“Our defense was not good enough to win the game,” Tide coach Anthony Grant said. “I thought that was the difference.”

LaChance’s 3-pointer with 3:49 left gave Vandy the lead for good.

Vandy made 28 of 35 free throws (80 percent) while Alabama was 11 of 17 (64.7 percent). That countered the Tide’s 11-of-24 performance from 3-point range.

“I’m glad the game ended because I felt Alabama was going to make every single 3 that they shot,” Stallings said. “That shooting performance by them, I thought, was incredible.”

Kornet’s bank shot tied it at 56 with 5:55 left and the teams proceeded to have two ties and five lead changes over the next two minutes.

Vandy’s James Siakam had a block, two offensive rebounds and two made free throws in less than a minute. Jones then hit a basket and drew Riley Norris’s fifth foul with 1:45 left. He made the free throw for a 69-63 lead that matched Vandy’s biggest at that point.

Hale responded with a quick 3-pointer for Alabama but Vandy ran the shot clock almost all the way down before LaChance made a runner.

Baldwin all but iced it after that with a pair of free throws for a 73-66 lead with 43 seconds left.

Vanderbilt had wiped four points off a 33-28 deficit in the final two seconds of the first half. Michael Kessens drew a technical foul after `Bama was called for a foul and LaChance and Baldwin each made two free throws.

“The official said that Mike took the ball and put it in the guy’s face or something,” Grant said of the technical.

Jones, who came in ranked second in the SEC in field goal percentage, made 7 of 11 field goals and 6 of 9 free throws. It was his sixth 20-point game of the season.

Alabama reached 30 points in the first half for the first time in seven games, thanks to Obasohan’s five points over the final 1:33.

Vanderbilt: The Commodores shot 47.7 percent (21 of 44) and committed just six turnovers.

Alabama: No. 2 scorer Ricky Tarrant remained sidelined with a right leg injury. Outrebounded Commodores 38-30 and had just seven turnovers.

Vanderbilt visits Florida on Wednesday night.

Alabama visits Auburn on Tuesday night.