Top-seeded Alabama advances to Sweet 16 with dominant win over Maryland
Brandon Miller warmed up, as did Alabama, which avoided the fate of two other NCAA Tournament seeds and edged Maryland 73-51 behind a dominant second half on Saturday night.
The Crimson Tide (31-5) hit their second Sweet 16 in the last three tournaments and ninth overall. Alabama will face fifth-seeded San Diego State in the Southern Region semifinals in Louisville, Ky., on Friday.
Even before the game tipped off two seeds, Purdue and defending national champion Kansas had fallen, and No. 1 seed Houston had edged rival Tide Auburn by 10 points at halftime. -time earlier at Legacy Arena before retiring.
Alabama and Miller got off to a slow start, but the All-America rookie and the NBA’s top prospect finished with 19 points after going scoreless in the first round. Miller is nursing a groin injury and missed his first nine shots of the tournament.
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Jahvon Quinerly scored 22 points on the one-year anniversary of his left knee injury early in a second-round loss to Notre Dame, which further limited him earlier this season. Quinerly made 4 of 6 3-pointers.
Charles Bediako had 10 points and 10 rebounds. The Alabama starters hit the bench with minutes left to sing “Sweet 16” into the friendly crowd.
Julian Reese had 14 points for Maryland (22-13) before committing a foul. Jahmir Young scored 12.
Alabama, the overall top seed, faced little drama, unlike other No. 1s.
FAIRLEIGH DICKINSON’S EXPLICIT ABBREVIATION PUT THE INTERNET INTO FRENZY AFTER MARS MADNESS.
16 seed Fairleigh Dickinson toppled Purdue 63-58 on Friday in the second such upset. Then No. 8 Arkansas beat the Jayhawks 72-71 earlier on Saturday. Houston ultimately walked away from Auburn as the Tide awaited their opportunity.
The first half was more to Maryland’s liking, aside from the 28-23 deficit, as one team allowed just 63 points per game.
Maryland: 2002 national champion Terps failed to make his 15th trip to the Sweet 16 in coach Kevin Willard’s first season. They also lost to Alabama in the second round two years ago under former coach Mark Turgeon. Maryland’s defense was sharp enough to hold the lead for much of the first half despite going on a nine-game losing streak.
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Alabama: Its depth has been demonstrated so far. The Tide controlled the game despite few goals from starters Mark Sears and Noah Clowney or Nick Pringle, the star of the opener against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.
Alabama faces a team from San Diego State making their first appearance in the Sweet 16 since 2004, which was also the year of Tide’s only Elite Eight race. The Crimson Tide never made it to the Final Four.