January 7, 2014

Alabama beats Vanderbilt in SEC opener

After struggling to finish games throughout the nonconference schedule, the University of Alabama men's basketball team found the right formula to start league play on Tuesday night, stemming a late Vanderbilt rally to take a 68-63 win in its Southeastern Conference opener.

Alabama enjoyed a seemingly comfortable 12-point lead, 61-49, with 5:20 to play, but, as has been the case all season, the Crimson Tide showed little capability for maintaining a lead. A 3-pointer by Rod Odom triggered a 9-0 Commodore run that took just more than two minutes to accomplish, and Alabama found itself in a one-possession game, leading just 61-58 with 3:20 to play.

The lead was still three points when Retin Obasohan, with the shot clock ticking under 5 seconds, hit the game's biggest shot, a 3-pointer, with 1:25 to go.

"Coach (Anthony) Grant has been telling me to shoot the ball with confidence, so that is what I have tried to do, day-in and day-out," Obasohan said. "We have been in those situations and let them slip, but Coach told us we had to grow up in the SEC season, and that's what we tried to do."

The Crimson Tide (7-7) followed that with back-to-back defensive stops and iced the game on two Trevor Releford free throws with 24.7 seconds remaining.

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