- Associated Press - Saturday, January 7, 2017

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) - Alabama junior Ar’Mond Davis helped the Crimson Tide prepare for its Southeastern Conference home opener against Vanderbilt, taking the role of the Commodore’s Matthew Fisher-Davis on scout team.

Davis played as himself on Saturday night, coming off of the bench to lead Alabama (9-5, 2-0 SEC) to a 59-56 victory over Vanderbilt (8-7, 2-1 SEC).

Davis scored all 12 of his points in the second half, shooting 50 percent from 3-point range, and Alabama scored 36 of its points off of the bench.

“We want to play eight guys. We’ll go to the ninth or 10th guy, but our rotation is set now, but is not so set to where it is not flexible, so Ar’Mond wasn’t a guy that was in the rotation,” Alabama coach Avery Johnson said. “We were struggling against the zone, and coach (John) Pelphrey whispered to me and said, ‘hey, let’s give Ar’Mond a try,’ and I was like, ‘great idea.’ We are glad he came in and sparked us.”

Tied 30-30 at halftime, Vanderbilt opened up the second half on a 12-0 run off of four unanswered 3-pointers by Riley Lachance, Payton Willis, Nolan Cressler and Fisher-Davis to take a 42-30 lead. Vanderbilt made 10 3-pointers on the night.

“We were pleased with the first half,” Vanderbilt coach Bryce Drew said. “Jeff Roberson, (who) has been playing excellent for us and got his fourth foul (at 19:39 of the second half) and we made a sub and really went on a nice run and it gave us a position to be able to have a chance to win this game.”

Davis hit his third 3-pointer to tie things back up, 49-49, with 8:44 remaining, bringing the crowd to its feet. He sparked Alabama’s comeback with a four-point play after being fouled on his first of three 3-pointers to bring the Crimson Tide within 10, 46-36. From there, Alabama went on a 23-10 run in the final 11 minutes to secure the victory.

“Big-time win for us tonight,” Johnson said. “We struggled to score there for a big stretch, but we consistently played defense … so for us to do the job we did defensively, especially allowing them to make 10 3s, I am just proud of our guys.”

Luke Kornet led Vanderbilt with 15 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks.

Vanderbilt called timeout with 12:29 remaining in the first half after Alabama hit back-to-back baskets to cap off a 16-2 run and take a 16-8 lead. The Commodores opened the game off of a pair of 3s by Lachance and Willis, in similar fashion to the start of the second half, to take a 6-0 lead.

Alabama (9-5, 2-0) led by as many as nine points in the first half, but Vanderbilt chipped away to tie things up by halftime.

Dazon Ingram finished with a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds for Alabama, and Jimmie Taylor scored 10 points and had eight rebounds. Braxton Key had 11 rebounds and seven points.

Cressler and Willis finished with 10 points each for Vanderbilt.

Alabama out rebounded Vanderbilt 50-35.

“I thought their offensive rebounds were key,” Drew said. “Anytime you hold aa team to 32 percent you feel good about your defense, but all of their second chance points was a really big difference in the game.”

BIG PICTURE

Alabama: The win and the 2-0 mark in SEC play, gives the Crimson Tide a big confidence boost heading into next week’s contest against a ranked Florida team.

Vanderbilt: The Commodores are still looking for their 700th SEC victory.

UP NEXT

Vanderbilt welcomes Kentucky on Tuesday.

Alabama hosts No. 24 Florida on Tuesday.

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