Alabama men cruise past Maryland into Sweet 16
INDIANAPOLIS – The No. 2 seed Alabama men’s basketball team found its shooting touch by knocking down 16-of-33 three-pointers on its way to a dominating 96-77 victory Monday night over No. 10 seed Maryland to reach the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16. The Crimson Tide set NCAA Tournament program records for threes made and attempted while reaching the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2004 and eighth time in program history.
Alabama (26-6) was led by Jaden Shackelford’s 21 points and five three-pointers while John Petty Jr. knocked down four threes on his way to collecting 20 points and six boards. Guard Jahvon Quinerly recorded his first career double-double with 14 points and a career-best 11 assists, the most assists in a game this season by any Tide player. Forward Alex Reese had 13 points and five boards, while guard Joshua Primo returned from an MCL injury to collect 10 points and four rebounds in 23 minutes of action.
UA has now made 341 three-pointers in 961 attempts this season, which breaks the school record set by last year’s team (334-of-957). The Tide has now won eight straight contests and 11 of its last 12 games coming into next week’s Sweet 16 matchup vs. No. 11 seed UCLA.
Coach Nate Oats Postgame Comments
“I’m really happy for our guys. It’s been a long time since we’ve played in the Sweet 16 here. These guys have really bought into playing the right way. Defensively, we’ve been one of the top five teams in the country all year. The offense was bound to come. I just told them after the first game, let’s just lose ourselves in the game. Lose ourselves in the defensive stuff and blue collar stuff. I reached out to coach (Rick) Pitino after the Iona game because I wanted to get his thoughts on us. He told me the same thing that when he had his better teams, the hardest game was always the first one. We have enough talent that it’s going to come, so just focus on defense. I told our guys just that and coach Pitino said the same thing. He’s a Hall of Fame coach who has won a couple of championships so I think he knows what he’s doing. A lot of guys stepped up tonight. It says a lot when the SEC Player of the Year (Herbert Jones) has six points and six rebounds because of foul trouble shows what everyone else had working today.”
- The 96 points scored by Alabama tied for the third-most points in an NCAA Tournament game in program history, matching the 96 points vs. Wake Forest on March 17, 1991
- With the win, Alabama advances to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2004 and the eighth time overall (the 1987 team reached the Sweet 16 but was later vacated), while improving to 26-6 on the season, just one shy of matching the all-time program record for wins (27) set by the 2001-02 team
- Alabama (35-of-66) and Maryland (32-of-60) each shot 53 percent from the field, but the Tide knocked down 16 threes compared to only 10 (10-of-27) by the Terrapins
- The Tide dominated the glass for a second consecutive NCAA Tournament game, owning a 40-19 advantage
- After outrebounding Iona 42-26 in the first round, Alabama has combined to own an 82-45 advantage on the glass
- The UA bench have outscored both Iona (23-8) and Maryland (39-9) reserves by a combined 62-17 in its two tournament games
- Maryland used an early 9-3 run to begin the game with an 11-5 lead
- Trailing 18-12 at the 13:22 mark, Alabama responded with a 19-4 run over the next 6:20 to take a commanding 31-22 lead with 7:02 remaining
- The Tide began the run with a 7-0 spurt to take its first lead of the game at 19-18 at the 10:53 mark
- Alabama extended its lead to nine, 31-22, with a 9-0 run
- The next few minutes the two teams swapped buckets before 5-0 run by the Tide gave Alabama its largest lead of the half 44-33 at the 2:46 mark
- The Tide bench was crucial to Alabama taking the 46-38 lead into the locker room with 24 bench points with 11 coming from Reese and seven points to go along with nine assists from Quinerly
- Alabama used a second 19-4 run, including scoring 14 consecutive points, with Petty and Shackelford combining for four three pointers to take a commanding 65-42 lead with 15:06 to go
- Maryland scored the next five, but the Tide answered with a 5-0 spurt of its own to lead 70-47 with 12:05 left in the final stanza
- The teams swapped baskets the next few minutes with Maryland adding a late 7-0 run to cut the Tide’s lead to 16 with 3:58 to play
- That would be the closest the Terps would get as both teams emptied their benches
Alabama will play its first Sweet 16 game in 17 years when it will take on the No. 11 seed UCLA Bruins on Sunday, March 28, in Hinkle Fieldhouse on the campus of Butler University. The game is slated for a 6:15 p.m. CT tip (7:15 p.m. ET) and can be seen on TBS.