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Brandon Miller bounced back from a bad game and had 19 points and seven rebounds. He led top-seeded Alabama 73-51 past eight-seeded Maryland in the second round of Saturday night’s NCAA tournament in Birmingham, Ala.
Alabama advanced to the South region in Louisville, Kentucky next week and meets No. 5 San Diego State in the Sweet 16.
Jahvon Quinerly scored 15 of his best 22 in the second half for the Crimson Tide (31-5) while Charles Bediako had 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Alabama only overtook Maryland by 39.7 percent to 35.2 percent, but the Crimson Tide owned a 44-32 advantage on the boards and had 16 second-chance points on 15 offensive rebounds.
Julian Reese scored 14 points for the Terrapins (22-13) despite serious foul problems. Jahmir Young scored 12.
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Miller remained scoreless in Alabama’s first-round win over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. In addition to playing through a lingering groin injury, Miller faced severe scrutiny for his involvement in the shooting of Jamea Harris.
Investigators testified that Miller had delivered former teammate Darius Miles’ gun to the scene of the shooting; According to coach Nate Oats, Miller was flanked by armed security guards at the tournament after receiving “threats.”
Maryland made its first four field goal attempts of the night before missing the next nine. The score lingered at 12-10 Terrapins as neither side managed to score for nearly five minutes until Bediako’s transition dunk ended the game 9:25 at the half.
Reese picked up two fouls 18 seconds apart and made a substitution three minutes into the game. He came on again at 11:55 but was called at 8:50 for his third foul and missed the rest of the half.
Miller’s driving layup at 6:45 marked his first field goal of the tournament, and his left spin move set him up for a baseline jump with 4:28 left. An 11-1 run developed that gave Alabama a 26-17 lead.
But the Terrapins cut it to 28-23 at halftime when Young sank a floater in the lane with a second to go.
Miller finished a series of big defensive plays on both ends of the floor, blocking a Maryland layup off the glass and being fed for an open 3-pointer down the right wing. That gave the Crimson Tide their first double-digit lead, 40-30, with 15:28 to play.
Not long after converting a three-point game, Reese gave up his fourth foul in the transition to 12:12 and headed onto the bench. He returned just over a minute later before finally fouling at the 2:24 mark.
“I thought our offense settled in the second half,” Oats said on the TV show. “Our defense was pretty good and kept us in the game. Our offensive got around.
Six straight free throws gave Alabama a 50-35 lead with 10:15 to go, and Maryland’s cold shooting kept it from threatening the rest of the way. Back-to-back 3-pointers from Quinerly made it 65-45 with 3:19 left.