Vanderbilt absolutely stole a win from Alabama last night. By all accounts, Alabama played much better than Vanderbilt did, especially offensively. They started the game with a 9-0 run that gave most Vanderbilt basketball fans nightmares of the Illinois game from earlier in the season.
All the talk about how this team had matured and how the defensive lapses and lack of energy that doomed the team against Cincinnati, Illinois and Western Kentucky ended up being true.
Vanderbilt spotted Alabama with 9 points tonight. On the road. And won.
Let that sink in for a minute.
Defense, rebounding, generating free throws, and taking care of the ball. All signs that point to toughness.
|Points Per Possession||0.99||0.94|
In the first half, Alabama controlled the glass with a 17-13 edge. They had 22 points in the paint to Vandy's 8. They took a 7 point lead into the locker room, along with what seemed control of the game.
The second half was a different story. Vandy outrebounded 'Bama 25-20, including a 7-3 edge on offensive rebounds. Vanderbilt locked down defensively. Alabama's shooting percentage dropped from 57% in the first half to 37% in the second. Finally, Vanderbilt created turnovers that led to easy buckets in transition.
Four Factors: Vandy led three (OReb%, TO%, FTRate) comfortably while Alabama controlled effective field goal percentage. The Commodore Free Throw Rate advantage was a huge deciding factor at the end.
It certainly wasn't a pretty way to win a game. All that mattered was that they found a way to win.
Plus/Minus Adjusted Per 40 Minutes
Alabama has a stud on their hands in Mikhail Torrance. What makes him such a tough player to guard is that even though he is right handed, he prefers to drive at defenders with his left, which gives defenders an unnatural look. Jermaine Beal was assigned to Torrance for the first half and into the start of the second. Though Jermaine is a pretty good on ball defender, he just couldn't seem to stop Torrance from going to his left. Stallings made a change and put Jeffery Taylor on him. Jeff, being 4" taller and even quicker and more athletic than Jermaine, was much better at cutting off Torrance's dribble drives. Still Torrance was able to continue to find ways to score, though not with the frequency he had enjoyed earlier. This defensive switch really helped to slow down Alabama's offense, which contributed to Vandy being able to grind it's way back to the lead. Needless to say, I was very impressed with Mikhail Torrance last night.
Torrance made nine of 13 shots, driving for Alabama's first three baskets of the second half. He was less of a factor after Vanderbilt Coach Kevin Stallings switched up to have Taylor defend him. "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," Stallings said. "Jeff did a great job on him. Our defense was much better in the second half than it was the first."