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When Jaden Bradley and Noah Clowney both dived for a loose ball early in Tuesday's game against Vanderbilt at Coleman Coliseum, it showed that the effort issues that plagued Alabama basketball in a loss to Oklahoma were on their way to being resolved.
The Crimson Tide (19-3, 9-0 SEC) used that play to continue on a 21-point run on the way to a 101-44 win over the Commodores (10-12, 3-6). Following Alabama's 24-point loss on Saturday to Oklahoma, coach Nate Oats called the game a wake-up call.
For the players, the main lesson that they took away from the Oklahoma loss was: "We just didn't play hard," according to sophomore guard Nimari Burnett. He said the Crimson Tide got complacent after an 8-0 start to SEC play, but the loss was needed to see what Alabama needed to work on going forward.
The Crimson Tide showed it heeded the lessons not just with a 57-point win, tied for the largest in program history (and more than the football team beat Vanderbilt last season, a 52-point margin). Vanderbilt came in with only three SEC wins, the type game that could be overlooked by a team ranked in the top five in the country.
"I respect Vanderbilt a lot, so it was kind of unfortunate for them that they were the team that followed the Oklahoma game," Oats said. "I told our guys we kind of showed who we are. I think we are a tough, hardnosed, blue-collared, gritty team."
Fifth-year senior Jahvon Quinerly was on the team in 2020-21 when Alabama won the SEC after losing at Oklahoma. He was able to help the Crimson Tide reset.
"They really coached each other over the last three days," Oats said. "Kind of talked amongst themselves, this is who we want to be, this is what we have to do to get better and they did just about all of it tonight. We were obviously aided by a good shooting night."
Alabama's effort was rewarded with its best shooting night of the season, hitting 59% from the field and 46.3% from 3-point range on 41 attempts, both season highs. Oats believes that the Crimson Tide left no doubt if the lessons from the Oklahoma loss resonated.
"You saw the way we played, you think it resonated," he said. "I think it resonated"
This article originally appeared on The Tuscaloosa News: Alabama basketball blowout of Vanderbilt showed lesson was learned