Commodores Fall Late

Scotty Pippen Jr. drops 26 points in two-point setback to No. 24 Alabama

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Vanderbilt got 26 points from Scotty Pippen Jr., but visiting No. 24 Alabama held on to the very last seconds for a 74-72 victory at Memorial Gymnasium on Tuesday.

Vanderbilt (14-13, 6-9 SEC) trailed by 11 with 5:23 to play, yet they refused to go away. Pippen’s three-point play with 2:02 to go brought the score to 68-65, and then the junior sank five straight free throws to make it 71-70.

But Alabama stood firm and wouldn’t relinquish the lead. Vandy had a golden opportunity to tie in the waning seconds, but Jordan Wright’s layup attempt from the left side rolled out no good.

The Crimson Tide inbounded the ball and ran out the final five seconds.

Pippen also had eight assists and a career-high six steals in the contest. Liam Robbins had 16 points for Vandy, which travels to play Mississippi State (16-11, 7-7 SEC) at noon Saturday.

Vandy began Tuesday’s game playing tight defense but struggled to get going on the offensive end. The Commodores missed five of their first six shots from the field until Quentin Millora-Brown’s layup put the home team ahead 6-5.

That bucket was the start of a 9-0 run that was capped by Wright’s three-point play to give the Dores a 13-5 lead.

Alabama climbed within three at 19-16 after a Jahvon Quinerly layup with 8 1/2 minutes to play in the half. Robbins answered on the other end with his second 3 of the half to make it a 22-16 game.

Pippen’s pull-up 3 from the left wing on the fast break put the Commodores ahead 28-21. A few minutes later the junior hit a triple from the right side while falling down, giving Vandy a 32-26 lead.

Just before halftime, Drew Weikert came off the bench and drilled a 3-pointer and a pair of free throws to help Vandy go up 37-28. The Commodores would settle for a 37-32 lead at the break.

Alabama turned the ball over 12 times in the first 20 minutes, and Vanderbilt scored 21 points off those miscues. Vandy also registered seven assists on 10 made field goals.

Tyrin Lawrence’s soaring layup early in the second half put Vandy ahead 40-32. Alabama used an 8-2 run to get it to 42-40, but Trey Thomas buried a left-corner 3-pointer to quiet the storm.

Noah Gurley’s three-point play gave the Crimson Tide its first lead, 46-45, since early in the first half. James Rojas’ three-pointer moments later capped a 9-0 run and gave Alabama four-point edge.

Quinerly’s 3-pointer from the right side with 7:23 to play gave the Crimson Tide a commanding 62-53 lead and forced a Vanderbilt timeout. That lead turned out to be too much to overcome.

Quinerly finished with 19 to lead the Crimson Tide (17-11, 7-8 SEC).

  • With 26 points Tuesday, Pippen Jr. (1,374) passed Billy McCaffrey (1,359; 21st) and Jeff Roberson (1,373; 20th) on Vanderbilt’s all-time scoring list. Kevin Anglin (1,389) is 19th.
  • Vanderbilt junior Scotty Pippen Jr. now has the sixth-most made free throws (438) in Vanderbilt history. Phil Cox (fifth) made 442.
  • Pippen Jr. has 533 points this season, tied with Butcher Feher for the eighth-most points in a junior season in Vanderbilt history.
  • Pippen is now ninth in Vanderbilt history with 129 career steals. Jason Holwerda is eighth with 138.
  • Vandy has forced 15 or more turnovers in 14 games this season.
  • Wright has now started 32 straight games for Vanderbilt.
  • Thomas has now played in 53 straight games for the Commodores.
  • Vanderbilt is now 12-3 this season when leading at halftime.
  • The Commodores are now 70-74 all-time against the Crimson Tide and 41-23 as the home team. Alabama has won 5 of 6 in the series.
  • Attendance on Tuesday was announced as 7,041.