No. 1 seed Alabama beats Maryland 73-51 in a drama-free game
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Brandon Miller was heating up, as was Alabama, which avoided the fate of two other top NCAA tournament seeds and brushed aside Maryland 73-51 behind a dominant second half Saturday night.
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 game even tipped, two top seeds – Purdue and defending champion Kansas – were gone and No. 1 seed Houston was 10 points behind Tide rivals Auburn at halftime earlier at Legacy Arena before he withdrew.
Alabama and Miller got off to a slow start, but the All-America freshman and top NBA prospect finished with 19 points after going scoreless in the first-round game. Miller is suffering from a groin injury and missed his first nine shots of the tournament.
Jahvon Quinerly scored 22 points at the start of a second-round loss to Notre Dame on the one-year anniversary of his left knee injury, which hampered him earlier this season. Quinerly made 4 of 6 3-pointers.
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.
Julian Reese had 14 points for Maryland (22-13) before fouling. Jahmir Young scored 12.
Alabama, the top overall winner, faced little drama unlike the other No. 1s.
Fairleigh Dickonson, No. 16, toppled top seed Purdue 63-58 in just the second such upset on Friday. Then No. 8 Arkansas beat the Jayhawks 72-71 earlier 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 the 15th trip to the Sweet 16 in coach Kevin Willard’s first 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: Its 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.
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