GAME NOTES: SEC action tips off on Tuesday night, as the Alabama Crimson Tide close out a two-game homestand at Coleman Coliseum with a showdown against the Vanderbilt Commodores.
Vanderbilt's non-conference slate went about as well as it could have hoped for, as it currently sits with an 8-4 record. The Commodores recently closed out a five-game homestand with four victories, most recently dismantling Northeastern on Saturday night, 79-49, but now they head back out on the road where they've gone 0-2.
Meanwhile, Alabama has struggled through its non-league schedule, running out to just a 6-7 record. The Tide managed to snap a three-game losing streak on Saturday with a 64-56 victory over Robert Morris, and all of their wins this season have come at Coleman Coliseum (6-2).
The all-time series between these programs could not be much closer, as Alabama clings to a 66-65 advantage. The Commodores had won three straight in the series before the Tide captured a 58-54 victory last season in Nashville.
In their most one-sided victory of the season, the Commodores shot a blistering 62.5 percent from the field (including 8-of-12 from 3-point range) in Saturday's 30-point victory while holding Northeastern to a lowly 31.5 percent. Rod Odom set the tone with 21 points, doing so on 7-of-10 from the field while knocking down all four of his attempts from beyond the arc. Damian Jones scored 16 points and swatted away six shots, Eric McClellan netted 14 points and Kyle Fuller came off the bench to score 11.
On the season, Vanderbilt has outshot its opponent from the field, 46.6 percent to 40.3 percent, good for a +4.4 scoring margin, although sometimes it evens the playing field due to its lackluster turnover margin (-3.1) and free- throw percentage (.630). McClellan is the team's leading scorer with 14.3 ppg despite his disappointing showings from 3-point range (.182) and the foul line (.605). Odom (13.3 ppg) grabs a team-high 5.7 rpg and has made 32-of-73 from long distance (.438), while Jones brings 10.3 ppg to the table on nearly 60 percent shooting from the field.
Despite trailing Robert Morris by six points early in the second half of its latest game, Alabama used a 16-2 run to pull away and eventually hung on for the eight-point victory. It shot an impressive 54.5 percent from the field in the triumph but was still held to only 64 points thanks to 16 turnovers and a poor effort at the foul line (11-of-21). Trevor Releford was the catalyst on both ends of the floor, shooting 6-of-10 from the field and 4-of-4 from the foul line for 18 points while swiping six steals as well. Retin Obasahon was a factor off the bench, tallying 12 points, seven rebounds and three steals.
Even though the Tide has lost more game than they have won, they still shoot 46.3 percent from the field, allow opponents to make just 41.6 percent of its field goal tries a boast positive margins in terms of scoring (+5.9), rebounding (+0.8) and turnovers (+1.3). Releford (18.5 ppg) is a high- efficiency guard both from the field (.524) and the charity stripe (.913) and is an elite perimeter defender as well with 2.5 spg. Obasohan (12.8 ppg, 2.8 spg), Levi Randolph (9.9 ppg) and Nick Jacobs (9.6 ppg) have all been solid as complementary options.
Although Vanderbilt has been the more impressive team in the early going this season, Alabama has endured a tough road with losses to UCLA, Wichita State, Xavier, Duke and Oklahoma. The Tide have defended their home floor admirably and should be able to find a way to outlast the less than explosive Commodores.
Game Date and Time