Brandon Miller was hot, and so was Alabama, which avoided the fate of the other two top seeds in the NCAA Tournament on Saturday night, trailing Maryland 73-51 in the second half.
The Crimson Tide (31-5) advanced to its second Sweet 16 in the last three tournaments and ninth overall. Alabama will face fifth-seeded San Diego State in the South Region semifinals on Friday in Louisville, Kentucky.
Before the game even started, Purdue and national champion Kansas were down, and the No. 1 seed Houston Tide trailed rival Auburn by 10 points at halftime at Legacy Arena.
Alabama and Miller got off to a slow start, but the All-American freshman and top NBA prospect scored 19 points after going scoreless in the first-round game. Miller is nursing a groin injury and missed his first nine shots of the tournament.
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Jahvon Quinerly scored 22 points in the second-round loss to Notre Dame on the one-year anniversary of the left knee injury that still limited him earlier this season. Quinerly made 4 of 6 3-pointers.
Charles Bediako had 10 points and 10 rebounds. Alabama’s starters hit the bench with minutes left to sing the “Sweet 16” in front of a friendly crowd.
Julian Reese had 14 points for Maryland (22-13). Jahmir Young scored 12 goals.
Unlike any other No. 1, Alabama has come out on top.
Fairleigh Dickinson’s CLEAR SHORTS BREAK THE INTERNET AFTER MARCH.
No. 16 seed Fairleigh Dickinson earned its second straight win over top-seeded Purdue 63-58 on Friday. Then No. 8 Arkansas beat the Jayhawks 72-71 on Saturday. Houston eventually pulled away from Auburn as the Wave waited for their chance.
The first half went in Maryland’s favor, aside from a 28-23 deficit, the team gave up just 63 points for the game.
THE BIG PICTURE
Maryland: The 2002 national champion Terps failed to make their 15th trip to the Sweet 16 in coach Kevin Willard’s first season. They lost to Alabama in the second round two years ago under former coach Mark Turgeon. Maryland’s defense was solid enough that it held the lead for most of the first half despite nine turnovers.
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Alabama: Its depth has been on display so far. The Tide dominated the game, despite not getting more points than Mark Sears and Noah Clowney or Nick Pringle, the stars of Texas’ opening game against A&M-Corpus Christi.
Alabama faces a San Diego State team making its first Sweet 16 appearance since 2004, the year of the Tide’s only Elite Eight run. The Crimson Tide have never reached the Final Four.