Miller scores 30 points as No. 4 Alabama beats Vandy 78-66

Freshman Brandon Miller scored 30 points as fourth-ranked Alabama defeated Vanderbilt 78-66 on Tuesday night to earn their seventh straight win, two days after a teammate was charged with capital murder.

Reserve junior forward Darius Miles was charged Sunday, a day after Alabama previously announced he would miss the rest of the season with an ankle injury. Trainer Nate Oats said Monday that the Tide is going through a “kind of grieving process.”

The Crimson Tide (16-2, 6-0 SEC) recovered well against a team they defeated in the conference tournament last March. All six SEC wins were in double digits, although late on Vandy threatened a 13-2 run.

Jordan Wright missed a 3 with 36 seconds to go while Vandy trailed 70-62. The Crimson Tide finished the win at the free throw line by knocking down all eight tries, and Miller had six of them.

Jaden Bradley and Noah Gurley each added 12 points as eight Alabama players scored. Gurley capped the win with a dunk in the final seconds.

Vanderbilt (9-9, 2-3) has now lost three of his last four – all to ranked opponents. Now in the fourth season of coach Jerry Stackhouse, the Commodores are 3-15 against the top-25 teams overall.

Tyrin Lawrence led Vanderbilt by 20 points, Wright added 15, and Ezra Manjon had 11.

Alabama opened the game with the first six points and took a 13-3 lead after a Noah Gurley free throw. Vanderbilt responded back and took his lone lead 22-21 after a 3-pointer from Malik Dia. Then the Crimson Tide took control and ended the half with a 15-4 run for a 36-26 halftime lead.

The Tide just kept scoring. Miller capped a 32-8 run with a 3-pointer with 12:44 remaining for Alabama’s largest lead at 53-30. Vanderbilt couldn’t have been much colder, missing 10 of his first 11 shots for the halftime. Wright’s 3 with 12:28 left was the Commodores’ second bucket made of the second half.

BIG PICTURE

Alabama showed their speed and shooting ability to remain undefeated in league play. This is only Tide’s second 6-0 start in the SEC under Oats in his fourth season. Alabama had not opened the SEC game undefeated so far in the league since a 5-0 start in the 1986-87 season.

Vanderbilt wasn’t helped by not having fifth-year forward Liam Robbins with an injured ankle. He had 18 points in last weekend’s win over then-No. 15 Arkansas. Robbins will be out for four to six weeks. The 7-footer ranks fifth nationally and eighth with a total of 50 blocks, averaging 2.94 shots per game. He saved two wins by blocking potential game winners on the buzzer against Temple and Pittsburgh and is a big reason the Commodores rank 19th at an average of 5.3 blocked shots per game.

SURVEY IMPACT

The Crimson Tide have positioned themselves to potentially win more votes if they win their first game since Miles was arrested.

NEXT

Alabama continues a two-game road swing in Missouri Saturday.

Vanderbilt visits Georgia on Saturday.

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AP College Basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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