Basketball players

Vanderbilt basketball players call Alabama ahead of SEC tournament game

The No. 6 seed Alabama Crimson Tide will face the No. 11 seed Vanderbilt Commodores in the second round of the SEC Tournament on Thursday night. Vanderbilt beat No. 14 seed Georgia 86-51 on Wednesday to advance to play the Crimson Tide in the second round. After the game, Vanderbilt Scotty players Pippen Jr. and Jordan Wright called Alabama, describing the Crimson Tide as a “very beatable team”. Vanderbilt lost to Alabama 74-72 in their only regular season game.

“It was a very winnable game for us,” Pippen said. “It was a tight game down the stretch. Jordan and I both made mistakes – we talked about it – that we want to pick up on. We were right. So we’re going into this game with a chip on our shoulder They’re a very beatable team, a team we wanted to play in. We’ll see tomorrow.

In Vanderbilt’s victory over Georgia, the Commodores were led by Pippen, who had 14 points. Myles Stute and Wright each added 11 for Vanderbilt in the win.

In Vanderbilt’s 74-72 loss to Alabama on Feb. 22, Pippen Jr. had 26 points, eight assists and six steals. Wright had a tough game, shooting just one of six from the field and scoring just three points with seven rebounds.

“I agree with that,” Wright said in agreement with Pippen’s remarks. “At the end of the day, I remember we kept them pretty well in the last four minutes of the game. The effort we put in those last four minutes really helped position us to have a chance of ‘to even the game at the end. Like Scotty said, it’s kind of a revenge game for us. It left a sour taste in our mouths, the way we got out of the last game. So we were waiting looking forward to this game.

Vanderbilt had a five-point halftime lead and ended up trailing 10 points with just over four minutes to go before making a comeback that was just short. Alabama led Jahvon Quinnerly in the win, scoring 19 points off the bench.

Coach Vanderbilt Jerry Stackhouse also weighed in on the previous loss to the Crimson Tide after beating Georgia on Wednesday night.

“I just remember we lost it,” Stackhouse said. “I don’t spend a lot of time on it. I know we had moments in the streak where we didn’t handle the pressure well. I think those kind of situations you have in a season, they help you in times like this when you see those opportunities in those times coming up again. You heard those guys. They have a little chip on their shoulder about it. We felt like we gave one at home. It was just during the three-game streak that we lost that could have easily changed our season. We might – probably – not be here tonight. But, again, it is what it is. Our record is our record, and we are here to try and keep fighting.

“I think our guys are mentally well placed and they feel good in their team at the moment. I think (it’s) great to have Liam back healthy, great to have Rodney back. Rodney is just a winner. I think that’s the biggest key. They talk about all the different things he does for our team offensively and defensively, but he’s just a winner. And I think that’s what we needed. As much as our guys got better and better in their development as individual players, we needed to have some sort of influx of winning players. He suited us perfectly, and I’m glad that He’s healthy enough to come out and contribute. Because he could have easily said, “It’s over, that’s all. But he fought. Rehabilitation is hard. Coming every day, every the guys on the pitch are training and he’s on the sidelines rehabilitating and trying to dream nir for this moment. So I hope it’s a special moment for him.

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Vanderbilt and Alabama are scheduled for a whistleblower at 7:00 p.m. CST from Amalie Arena in Tampa, Fla.