TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Jaden Shackelford scored a season-high 27 points and No. 8 Alabama came from behind to beat Vanderbilt 82-78 Saturday and move a step closer to a Southeastern Conference championship.
The Crimson Tide (18-5, 13-1 SEC) moved within a win of clinching at least a share of its first regular-season title in 19 years despite an off 3-point shooting performance.
Jahvon Quinerly made a late 3-pointer and a clinching free throw with 2 seconds left to help Alabama quell the upset bid by the Commodores (6-12, 2-10), who went nearly five minutes without a basket but stayed in it at the free-throw line.
Maxwell Evans made a layup with four seconds left to pull to within 81-78 after rebounding a missed 3. After a quick Vandy foul, Quinerly missed one free throw and made another to clinch it.
Quinerly scored 15 points for the Tide, which made just 10 of 39 3-point attempts (25.6%). Alex Reese scored 10 points while Keon Ellis had eight points and nine rebounds and also made a pair of free throws with 28 seconds left.
Alabama overcame low scoring from John Petty Jr. (six points) and Herb Jones (eight).
Scotty Pippen Jr. scored 24 points and made 12 of 14 free throws for Vanderbilt. Dylan Disu had 17 points and 15 rebounds for his second straight double-double. The SEC’s leading rebounder had 29 points and 16 boards in a loss to Kentucky.
Evans scored 18 points and made 4 of 5 3-pointers.
Sporting its first Top 10 February ranking since 2002, Alabama’s win came two days after coach Nate Oats received a three-year contract extension and big raise.
Alabama forward Jordan Bruner started after missing the past nine games with a right knee injury. He had one point and six rebounds in 19 minutes.
Vanderbilt: Made five of its first six 3-point attempts to build a seven-point lead midway through the first half. Then the Commodores missed their next nine shots on their way to another competitive SEC defeat.
Alabama: Cooled off considerably from a 115-point explosion last weekend against Georgia, but managed to take control in the second half. Playing its first game since its midweek Texas A&M trip was postponed because of the weather.
Oats started walk-on Tyler Barnes on senior day. Barnes missed an early 3-pointer in just his first career shot.
Vanderbilt hosts Mississippi on Saturday, Feb. 27.
Alabama starts a two-game road swing with a visit to Arkansas on Wednesday night.