Despite off-the-court distractions, Alabama was able to battle adversity and remain unblemished in SEC play, with a 78-66 win on the road against Vanderbilt Tuesday night. Alabama’s victory brings their SEC record to a perfect 6-0 for the second time in three years under head coach Nate Oats.

Tuesday’s game couldn’t get here fast enough. Just two days after seeing former teammate Darius Miles getting charged with capital murder, Alabama needed something to help them come together and get their mind on something positive.

On the Alabama pregame show, Nate Oats spoke about battling the distraction, regrouping and focusing on the job.

"It’s obviously been a little bit of a distraction," Oats told The Crimson Tide Sports Network. "It would be a lie to say it wasn’t. There’s gonna be plenty of distractions in life. This is a big one. But you’ve got to be able to regroup, gather yourself together, and still go to work. You and me have been through some things. Obviously, this is a little different, maybe. You know how real life works. You’ve got to be able to compartmentalize a little bit, focus on what you can, so now tonight, I’m just hoping they can really focus in on what we have to do tonight because we’ve been playing some good basketball up to this point."

One of the biggest reasons for Alabama’s hot start in SEC play has been thanks to the phenomenal play from freshman Brandon Miller. Miller, whose hometown is Antioch, Tennessee, just a short car ride from Vanderbilt, wanted to give his hometown a show; and he did just that. The Tennessee native led all scorers with 30 points and earned a game-high 10 rebounds, giving him his fifth double-double of the season. The 30 points mark the second game in a row that Miller has scored 30-plus points.

On a night when Alabama’s three-point shooting was not up to par, the Crimson Tide relied on what they do best — rebounding and scoring points in the paint. Alabama won both the rebounding battle 47-43, as well as the battle for points in the paint 40-26.

Tuesday’s performance was not the best from the Crimson Tide as they found themselves battling down the stretch to preserve the victory. Alabama got out to a 23-point lead in the second half only to see Vanderbilt go on a 27-13 run to shorten the lead to just eight points late in the game. With some clutch free throw shooting down the stretch, Alabama was able to secure the win, hitting 10 of their 11 free throw attempts in the second half. 

Next up for Alabama is a trip to Missouri on Saturday, January 21.

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