Kira Lewis Jr. scored 18 points on 6-of-11 shooting to help Alabama snap a three-game road losing streak with a 77-64 victory over host Vanderbilt on Saturday evening.
It was the Crimson Tide’s first win inside famed Memorial Gymnasium since 2013 and just the program’s second victory over Vanderbilt in Nashville since 1990, having gone 1-13 in its previous 14 games in Music City.
Alabama (15-8, 6-4 SEC) posted a season-high with 12 3-pointers (12-of-23) on 24-of-58 shooting overall, and led by as many as 19 (62-43) after back-to-back 3s from senior wing Riley Norris and junior guard Dazon Ingram with 10:37 remaining.
Norris finished with his first double-double of the season with 15 points and 12 rebounds in 25 minutes off the bench while Ingram added 12 points, including shooting 3-of-3 on 3-pointers.
Vanderbilt, which was led with 24 points from sophomore guard Saben Lee, rolled off a 13-0 run over a three-minute span to pull within 65-60 with 5:20 left but a personal 6-point run by Norris — thanks to three free throws and a triple — helped the Tide stretch it back to double-digits, 73-62, in the closing minutes.
1. Tide’s top option
Lewis might be the second youngest player in college basketball, but the 17-year-old freshman is quickly becoming Alabama’s No. 1 scoring option of late.
Lewis scored 13 of his 18 points in the first half, making six straight field goals at one point, including his last five of the opening period (5-of-6) after a missed 3-pointer in the first 3 ½ minutes of the game.
Lewis produced a season-high 24-point game Wednesday night against Georgia and has reached double-digit scoring in four of Alabama’s last five games.
Lewis’ second made 3-pointer capped 10-0 run over a nearly 3-minute span early in the second half, which coincided with a Vanderbilt scoring drought, that was sparked by back-to-back field goals from Herbert Jones in the opening minutes.
2. Hitting foul shots
Once an Achilles heel, free throw shooting has proven to be a strength this season, never more evident than on Saturday evening when Alabama shot 17-of-21 from the charity stripe.
That was in direct contrast to a 17-of-28 showing from host Vanderbilt, which shot just 8-of-22 from 3-point range and 21-of-52 overall.
Norris was the biggest contributor from the line, making 6-of-7 free throws, including 3 straight after getting fouled on a 3-point try to end a 13-0 second-half run by the Commodores.
Lewis was a perfect 4-of-4 from the charity stripe while Ingram added 3-of-4.
3. Hall’s first trey
Standing all alone at the top of the key, likely looking to set a screen, Donta Hall was passed the ball and did the unthinkable. He shot it.
Hall attempted and made his first career 3-pointer as the ball bounced off the rim, off the backboard and into the net to give Alabama a 30-19 advantage with 5:39 remaining.
Hall’s trey was the second of back-to-back baskets from beyond the arc from the Tide, following a 3-pointer from Riley Norris that helped cap a 10-1 run over a 4:20 span that saw Alabama stretch its lead from two to a first half-high 11.
Back-to-back 3-pointers from Vanderbilt’s Matt Ryan and Joe Toye brought the Commodores as close as five, but a trey from Lewis kept them at a distance and sent the Tide into halftime up 38-31.