Tide ‘turned’ away at Vandy gym again
Posted: Friday, February 11, 2011 9:02 pm
NASHVILLE (AP) — Brad Tinsley sunk his off-balance jumper despite getting fouled and hit the free throw to help seal the victory for No. 23 Vanderbilt.
JaMychal Green thought he got fouled, too, seconds later only to see officials rule the Alabama forward stepped out of bounds trying to drive the baseline and tie up the game.
“It was in the referees’ hands,” Green said. “I can’t do anything about it.”
With Tinsley’s three-point play with 17 seconds left, Vanderbilt beat Southeastern Conference-leading Alabama 81-77 on Thursday night. Alabama coach Anthony Grant said he’d have to check the replay, which he didn’t have the benefit of seeing after the game.
“All I know is that a call was made, and we have to respect the call that was made,” Grant said.
“We’re going to go for the best opportunity we have, and we felt like we had a good opportunity there. But it just didn’t work out for us.”
Now Vanderbilt (17-6, 5-4) has won the first two games of a three-game homestand with No. 18 Kentucky visiting Saturday to remain knotted with three others for second in the SEC’s Eastern Division. Tinsley’s shot came off a screen, and he hit the shot even as Trevor Releford hit his arm.
“It was a big basket in the game obviously and just really proud of him,” Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings said. “Proud of him for making that play and having the courage to step up and be there when we needed him, and we did need him.”
Alabama (15-8, 7-2) came in having won five straight and 10 of 11 with the Tide’s best start in SEC play since 2001-02.
But the Tide hasn’t won in Memorial Gym since 1990 and couldn’t finish this one off in a game that featured 11 ties and 10 lead changes.
Green had a chance to tie it again as he drove to the basket, only to step up on the end line and turn the ball over with 6.3 seconds left.
He thought Festus Ezeli might have fouled him only to see the call go the other way.
“We knew they were going to try to go inside,” Tinsley said. “He drove the baseline. I mean, there could’ve been a lot of calls right there. He just happened to step out of bounds, I guess.”
John Jenkins hit two more free throws with 5.1 seconds remaining to pad Vandy’s lead. Charvez Davis’ long 3 over a couple defenders was off target.
Jenkins finished with a team-high 20 points for Vanderbilt. Jeff Taylor had 19 before fouling out with 90 seconds left, Tinsley had 15 and Ezeli had 11. Taylor said it was great to watch his teammates close out a tight game.
Green finished with 23 points for Alabama, including shooting 10-of-11 at the line. Tony Mitchell scored 22 points, and Releford had 11 before fouling out late.
The Tide came in with the nation’s third-stingiest defense and best in the SEC, holding opponents to 57.1 points per game.
Vanderbilt is the SEC’s best scoring offense, and the Commodores matched what Alabama had been allowing with less than 12 minutes left.