Commodores nip Alabama, 65-64

(Alex Gilbert/University of Alabama)

TUSCALOOSA-- A.J. Ogilvy and Jeffery Taylor each scored 13 points, as Vanderbilt held off Alabama in the final seconds to pick up a crucial road victory. Despite hitting only 54 percent of their free throws it was a free throw that put Vanderbilt over the top at the end.

Evoking memories of the recent Florida game, Alabama came out shooting red-hot and bolted to an early 9-0 lead before Vandy's Jermaine Beal canned a 3-pointer three minutes into the game. Vandy then pulled to within three at 17-14 on a John Jenkins 3-point shot with 12 minutes left in the half. After Bama rebuilt their lead to six, Brad Tinsley's bucket with just under eight minutes narrowed the Bama lead to just two, 23-21. However, defensive blunders and turnovers, including a debacle on an inbounds play with less than 10 seconds remaining enabled the Crimson Tide to go to the locker room with a 35-28 lead.

Vanderbilt continued to trail well into the second half before a John Jenkins 3-pointer tied the score at 45 with 12 minutes to go in the game. The game would go on to see eight ties and five lead changes in the final 12 minutes.

With less than 10 minutes to go, another Jenkins three gave Vanderbilt its biggest lead of the game at 51-48. However, the Crimson Tide rebuilt their lead to four with 4:55 remaining. Perhaps the biggest play of the game came with 3:20 remaining when Ogilvy, playing with four fouls, took a charge from Mikhail Torrance. Although the officials counted the Torrance bucket they awarded Ogilvy two free throws, of which he made one to make the score 62-59. Less than a minute later Ogilvy would make two free throws to pull the Commodores even closer at 62-61.

After a Taylor free throw tied the score at 62 with 1:38 to go, Vandy forced an Alabama missed three and then Beale made a driving 15-foot jumper to give the Commodores a 64-62 lead. Alabama tied the score at 64 with 35 seconds to go, but Taylor was fouled and made 1-of-2 to give Vanderbilt 65-64 lead with 6 seconds to go. Alabama desperately drove down the length of the court but Anthony Brock's layup missed its mark as time expired.

Torrance, who scored 23 for Alabama, was the game's leading scorer. Vanderbilt head coach Kevin Stallings commented after the game that he thought slowing down Torrance late in the game was a key to the Vandy victory, "I thought that Torrance was killing us at the beginning of the second half and I thought that we finally got him to slow down and we switched and put Jeff Taylor on him. Jeff did a great job on him. Our defense just got better."

Beal and Jenkins each chipped in 11 points for the Commodores.

Vanderbilt improves to 13-3 (2-0 SEC). Next up for the Commodores is a visit to South Carolina on Saturday night. Alabama falls to 11-5 (1-1 SEC) and will visit Arkansas on Saturday. Vanderbilt now trails in the all-time series with Bama by on two games, 63-65.

VandyMania.com Recommended Stories