NASHVILLE, Tenn. — One game after scoring 63 points in a single half and blitzing visiting Arkansas 97-84, Vanderbilt’s offense went missing Tuesday.
The Commodores shot just 30.1 percent and missed 27 3-pointers in a 78-66 loss to No. 4 Alabama at Memorial Gymnasium. Vandy did enough defensively to keep itself in the game, but offensively the ball refused to go into the basket. It was one of the team’s poorest offensive outings of the season.
“It comes down to who makes shots, and tonight (Alabama) made shots,” Vandy head coach Jerry Stackhouse said. “Our shooters got ’em, we didn’t make ’em.”
Vanderbilt, which got 20 points from Tyrin Lawrence, 15 from Jordan Wright and 11 from Ezra Manjon, will have the rest of the week to regroup before it heads to Georgia to face the Bulldogs (13-5, 3-2 SEC) at noon CT Saturday.
Vandy’s energy and toughness were there from the outset, but its shot-making went AWOL. The Dores missed 10 of their first 11 shots and were in a 13-3 hole less than six minutes into the game.
The shots, however, began to fall and the crescendo of the crowd rose with every make. Wright hit a triple to make it 13-11, and then an Emmanuel Ansong putback tied the score at 19.
Freshman forward Malik Dia came off the bench and hit a triple from the right wing, which put the home team up 22-21 with 8:06 left in the first half.
Alabama answered with a 12-0 run; Vanderbilt went 4 1/2 minutes without scoring. The Crimson Tide ballooned its lead to 33-22 and took a 36-26 advantage into the break.
Vandy made just 10 field goals and shot just 25.6 percent. Defensively the Dores surrendered 20 points in the paint.
“I thought we came out a little sluggish in that first half. We started pressing a little bit. We had some good looks early on that didn’t fall for us,” Stackhouse said. “Had a ton of shots around the basket, I think we were like 3-for-15 around the basket with some missed 2s early on. Everybody was trying to do it themselves.
“We talked about it halftime, and in the second half we got a little bit more ball movement. Still didn’t shoot the ball well tonight. That’s a tough team to beat shooting 30 percent.”
Vanderbilt’s offensive struggles continued into the second half. Once again the Dores missed 10 of their first 11 field goals and fell behind 50-30 as Alabama went on a 14-4 run to start the period.
That lead grew to 23 with 12:44 to play, and, on this night, Vandy had nowhere near enough firepower to formulate a comeback.
Brandon Miller scored 30 and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead Alabama (16-2, 6-0 SEC).
Robbins Out With an Injury
Vanderbilt senior center Liam Robbins did not play Tuesday due to a right foot injury.
Stackhouse said the big man could be out up to six weeks.
“It’s just kind of like a bone bruise and a foot sprain,” Stackhouse said. “It’s just a matter of when he feels comfortable that he can get back. It’ll be great if he gets back (before six weeks), but that’s kind of the prognosis and what it is right now.
“We just to continue to try do it (without him). We’ve got guys that are capable to do it, and we’re still very capable.”
Robbins is averaging 13.2 points, 5.9 rebounds and 2.9 blocks per game this season. The former Minnesota and Drake center has 50 blocks this season and missed much of the 2021–22 campaign with a foot injury.
- Vanderbilt last recorded back-to-back victories over ranked opponents in January of 2007 when it defeated No. 10 Alabama, No. 25 Kentucky and No. 23 LSU, respectively.
- Vandy last defeated a top-five ranked opponent March 11, 2012, when it beat No. 1 Kentucky in the Southeastern Conference tournament championship game.
- Vanderbilt last defeated a top-five ranked opponent at home Feb. 26, 2008 when it beat No. 1 Tennessee.
- The Commodores are now 1-6 this season when trailing at halftime and 2-8 when scoring less than 75 points.
- Wright is now three points away from 1,000 for his career.
- Vanderbilt is now 71-75 all time against Alabama.
- Vandy is now 7-4 at home this season. The team won 11 home games in 2021-22.
- Attendance on Saturday was announced as 10,517.
— Chad Bishop covers Vanderbilt for VUCommodores.com.
Follow him @MrChadBishop.