Alabama Men’s Basketball Snaps Losing Skid with 68-61 Home Victory Over Vanderbilt

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Alabama reacts to a hustle play against Mississippi during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2019, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The Alabama men’s basketball team snapped its three-game losing streak Saturday evening by capturing a 68-61 victory over Vanderbilt in Coleman Coliseum. Alabama set a season high in steals (10), which helped the Crimson Tide own a 24-0 advantage on points-off-turnovers.

Freshman Kira Lewis Jr. led all scorers in the game with 19 points, going 4-of-8 from beyond the arc. Senior Donta Hall recorded his SEC leading 11th double-double of the season with 14 points and 11 rebounds, while junior Dazon Ingram also posted a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds to go along with a game-high six assists. It marked the first time since Dec. 6, 2017 that two players posted a double-double in the same game. In that contest, it was Ingram (10 pts, 14 rebs) and Hall (13 pts, 14 rebs) who achieved the feat vs. Rhode Island.

“First, I want to just say what a hard fought second half that Vanderbilt exhibited tonight on both ends of the floor,” Alabama head coach Avery Johnson said. “We had a substantial lead on them, and they didn’t quit. But our guys were in a tough spot as well. We dropped a couple of games and everybody knew what the deal was in terms of Vanderbilt’s record. We got off to a great start and had an unbelievable first half. The ball was moving. Our guys came out focused with a ton of energy. It wasn’t perfect, but I’m proud of our guys overall.”

The Crimson Tide (16-11, 7-7 SEC) opened the game by rattling off an 18-2 run to take control of the contest early on and never looked back. Alabama hit six three-pointers in the opening 20 minutes and led by as many as 22 points, 31-12. The Tide would enter the locker room with a 35-20 lead.

Alabama remained in control throughout most of the contest and took its largest lead of the game, 57-34, with over 12 minutes remaining. Vanderbilt (9-15, 0-14) would not go away quietly and responded by scoring 15 straight points to cut the Alabama lead to single-digits, 57-49, with under five minutes remaining.

However, Alabama sophomore Herbert Jones scored five points and had two key steals in the game’s final five minutes to help seal the victory.

With this win, Alabama swept the season series from Vanderbilt for the first time since doing so during the 1986-87 season. It also marked the first back-to-back wins over the Commodores since achieving the feat in 2013 and 2014.

Alabama will travel to Columbia, S.C., to play South Carolina on Tuesday evening at 6 p.m. CT (7 p.m. ET) in Colonial Life Arena. The game will be televised on ESPN2.

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