TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Brandon Miller scored 22 points Tuesday night to help No. 4 Alabama beat Vanderbilt 101-44 for the Crimson Tide’s biggest win over an SEC opponent ever.
Alabama (19-3, SEC 9-0) shot 59% from field and 46% from 3-point range to earn the fourth-biggest win in school history.
“We often tell our boys to lose themselves in the game and the offense will take care of itself,” said Alabama coach Nate Oats. “The more you worry about how many shots you’re getting or if your shot is going in, for me that stuff backfires. The way you take shots is you go to the gym and work your dick off. All of our guys went into overtime with our assistants.”
Nimari Burnett added 16 points, his first points after three goalless games since returning from injury on January 21. Three other Alabama players hit double digits: Rylan Griffen with 12, Noah Gurley with 11 and Charles Bediako with 10.
Mark Sears led all players with eight assists to walk with nine points.
Vanderbilt (10-12, 3-6) fought mightily in the first half, shooting 15% (5 of 33). Freshman Paul Lewis was Vanderbilt’s only double-digit scorer with 10 points.
“Wrong team at the wrong time,” said Vanderbilt coach Jerry Stackhouse.
LIAM ROBBINS RETURNS
Vanderbilt forward Liam Robbins scored nine points and added seven rebounds on his return to the game after missing four games with an ankle injury. The Commodores lost three of the four games they played without Robbins, their leading scorer and rebounder.
I thought we’d have some energy with Liam back in the lineup,” Stackhouse said. “I thought we had a spirited workout and good energy shooting this morning. I really can’t explain why we were a step too slow in everything we did tonight.”
This was Alabama’s first game after his nine-game winning streak ended with a 93-69 loss to Oklahoma, a loss that followed a poor performance in a narrow win over Mississippi State. Oats thought the team lost their lead; Tuesday’s performance suggests the Crimson Tide could have it back by giving a thorough treatment to a Vanderbilt team that earned a win against a ranked team in conference play and defeated Arkansas on Jan. 14.
“I’ve told our guys nationally that we’re being questioned as soft,” Oats said. “I think they answered the bell. You got the message. They’ve really coached each other for the past three days, to be honest. They’re a great group and they talk to each other about who they want to be, how they want to get better, and they’ve done that.”
Burnett acknowledged that the loss to Oklahoma brought the team to their renewed determination.
“It was really like we didn’t play hard,” Burnett said. “We were satisfied. We needed this loss, it helps us to get better. It showed some things we need to work on.”
Vanderbilt kicks off a two-game homestand by hosting Ole Miss on Saturday.
Alabama travels to LSU on Saturday after beating the Tigers by 40 points on Jan. 14.
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