Drake leads Vandy in first half

Published 11:11 pm Thursday, March 12, 2009

Former Calera star George Drake scored 14 points off the bench on 6-of-8 shooting to help lead Vanderbilt in the Southeastern Conference Tournament in St. Petersburg, Fla. Thursday. But the effort was not enough to lift the Commodores past the University of Alabama, falling 82-75.

Drake helped keep Vandy close in the first half with nine points, hitting 4-of-5 from the field, including 1-of-2 from 3-point range. Alabama led by as many as 12 points in the first half, before Drake helped spark an 11-1 run that cut the Tide’s lead to 30-28 late in the half. Bama took a 36-30 lead into the break.

Alonzo Gee led the Tide with 25 points, while Mikhail Torrance followed with 20 and JaMychal Green added 13 points and 10 rebounds.

Drake saw the court for only eight minutes in the second half, as Brad Tinsley and Jeffery Taylor took over the scoring with 14 points and 11 points, respectively, in the period. Tinsley finished with 20 and Taylor had 17.

The loss ended Vandy’s (19-12, 8-9) hopes to return to the NCAA Tournament, but leaves a chance for a bid to the National Invitational Tournament (NIT).

Alabama (18-13, 8-9) will meet the University of Tennessee Friday at 6:30 p.m., a rematch of the final game of the regular season, when Alabama beat UT, 70-67, Sunday.