January 13, 2010 9:00:00 AM
Coach Anthony Grant knows defense is a key to the style of basketball he wants to play at Alabama.
That''s how the Crimson Tide opened the Southeastern Conference schedule with a 66-49 victory against LSU this past Saturday.
With Alabama struggling to shoot the basketball, Grant said "our defense carried us."
The Crimson Tide shot only 45 percent (27 of 60) from the field, including 21 percent (3 of 14) from 3-point range.
Grant was pleased Alabama (11-4, 1-0 SEC) created turnovers that led to transition opportunities and they held LSU''s offensive threats down that "created some opportunities for us and took away some of the strengths of their team."
Those are the things Grant hopes his team continues to focus on today when it hosts Vanderbilt at 8 p.m..
"I want our team to focus on the defensive end of the floor and understand how that helps us in other areas," Grant said.
It was a successful SEC debut for Grant, but he understands with the next game comes a new challenge.
The plan of attack changes, especially seeing the Commodores (12-3, 1-0) after playing an SEC Western Division opponent.
"It depends on scouting reports in terms of what we need to do to put ourselves in a position to win and game by game that''s going to vary," Grant said. "Vanderbilt is playing as good as anyone in our league right now.
"When you look at the scores of their games and from what I''ve seen on film, I''m just really impressed with the balance they have offensively. Defensively, they are doing a great job with not only interior defense, but on the perimeter and the way they''ve guarded has been really impressive."
Alabama is led by JaMychal Green with 15.6 points and 6.8 rebounds per game and Mikhall Torrance with 15.5 points per game. They are the only players for the Crimson Tide averaging in double figures.
After picking up a home win against Florida, Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings said his squad can make another statement with success on the road.
"We''ve been pleased with the way our team has played the last few weeks, but the challenge of going on the road in league play is always difficult," Stallings said. "That''s something you have to embrace if you are going to be any good."
Vanderbilt guard John Jenkins was chosen the SEC Freshman of the Week for the second-straight week after back-to-back 13-point games against Middle Tennessee State and Florida.
Jenkins, who averages 11.0 points per game, is one of four players who averages in double figures for the Commodors. Jeffery Taylor leads the team with a 14.1 average, followed by Jermaine Beal and A.J. Ogilvy at 133 points per game.
Ogilvy averages 5.7 rebounds to lead Vanderbilt on the glass.
1. No. 1 MSU begins preparations for Kentucky COLLEGE SPORTS
2. Alabama shines with looser mind-set COLLEGE SPORTS
3. Ole Miss will rely on defense COLLEGE SPORTS
4. New Hope softball escapes quicksand at Warren Central HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS