No. 1 seed Alabama beats Maryland 73-51 in a drama-free game


BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Before Alabama entered court, two No. 1 seeds had fallen and a third had to recover from a double-digit deficit.

In comparison, the Crimson Tide had a drama-free night.

Jahvon Quinerly scored 22 points, Brandon Miller heated up with 19 and top-seeded Alabama edged aside Maryland 73-51 behind a dominant second half on Saturday.

The second round bout followed a 21-point blowout by Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in the Tide’s tournament opener.

“I feel like our work is not done yet,” Miller said. “We are here to win a national championship.”

The Crimson Tide (31-5) advanced to their second sweet 16 and ninth overall in the last three tournaments. Alabama meets fifth-placed San Diego state in the South Region semifinals in Louisville, Kentucky on Friday.

Before the late-night game, Purdue and defending champions Kansas had lost, and No. 1 seed Houston was 10 points behind Tide rivals Auburn at halftime earlier at the Legacy Arena before pulling away.

“Obviously we watched those games and that was crazy,” Quinerly said. “But Coach (Nate Oats) didn’t really speak to the team.

“We all know that in March anyone can win. We simply concentrated on the task at hand.”

Alabama and Miller got off to a slow start, but the All-America freshman and top NBA prospect finished on a more typical performance after going scoreless in the first round game. Miller sustained a groin injury and missed his first nine shots of the tournament.

“It seems like the more he walks, the looser it got,” Oats said. “He didn’t have the same pop. He was 3 of 11 on 2s. Many of these were on the edge. His degree was really good. He definitely wasn’t 100%. He’s a tough kid. He’s going through some things. He doesn’t let people know he’s hurt.”

Quinerly had a big game on the one-year anniversary of his left knee injury, losing to Notre Dame in the second round, which still hampered him earlier this season. He shot 4 of 6 on 3-pointers.

Maryland coach Kevin Willard had offered the New Jersey native a scholarship while Quinerly was at Seton Hall when he was just a ninth grader.

Charles Bediako had 10 points and 10 rebounds. Alabama’s starters took a few minutes to the bench to sing “Sweet 16” in the friendly crowd.

“It was incredible to play in front of our hometown fans to have a chance to go to the Sweet 16,” Oats said.

Julian Reese had 14 points for Maryland (22-13) before fouling. Jahmir Young scored 12.

Reese scored seven quick points but picked up his second foul three minutes into the game and played just four minutes in the first half, scoring a quick third.

“His first foul was a foul. But the second was mysterious and the third was the game,” Willard said. “You can’t call that second foul in a physical game. It was a terrible call. It changed the game.

“I’ll explain as much as you want. Should I get in a little trouble or a lot of trouble? But the second call was a terrible foul call. A terrible call. It changed our entire game plan. We wanted to bang it in, bang it in.”

The Tide ended with a 44-32 rebound advantage.

Alabama had it easy in the end, unlike the other No. 1 seeds.

Fairleigh Dickinson, No. 16, fell 63-58 on Friday night in only the second such upset Purdue. Then No. 8 Arkansas beat the Jayhawks 72-71 on Saturday. Houston eventually withdrew from Auburn as the tide awaited its turn.

The first half was more to Maryland’s liking — aside from being down 28-23 — for a team that was giving up just 63 points per game.

Maryland: 2002 national champion Terps failed to make a 15th trip to the Sweet 16 in Willard’s freshman season. They also lost in the second round to Alabama two years ago under former coach Mark Turgeon. Maryland’s defense was so spot on that they held the lead for much of the first half despite a stretch of nine straight misses.

Alabama: According to STATS, it was the largest win in NCAA tournament history by a team scoring less than 40% overall and less than 30% on 3-pointers. … Alabama’s depth has been shown so far. The Tide controlled the game, although starters Mark Sears and Noah Clowney or Nick Pringle, the star of the opening game against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, didn’t score many goals.

Alabama meets a San Diego State team making their first Sweet 16 appearance since 2004, which was also the year of the Tide’s only Elite Eight heat. The Crimson Tide have never made the Final Four.

“I know the defense of the state of San Diego is elite,” Oats said.


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