BIRMINGHAM, Alabama — For the first time since the 1986-87 season, Alabama men’s basketball won an NCAA tournament in Birmingham.
Thanks to a barrage of 3-pointers, Alabama was able to drown any chance of an upset by making Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 96-75.
Here are three takeaways from Alabama’s first-round win at the NCAA tournament.
Dominance in the first half
Alabama was unconscious for the first 20 minutes. In a half that saw Alabama score 50 points or more for the fifth time this season, the Crimson Tide converted more than 50% of their shots from the field, including a 59% mark behind the 3-point line.
Eight different scorers found their way into the scoring charts at the Crimson Tide, with Noah Clowney and Mark Sears scoring in double figures in the first frame. It was a proverbial breath of fresh air for Sears after scoring just 15 points overall during the SEC championship tournament.
Sears scored 15 points by the 12-minute mark of the second half when he was carried from deep by a 3-for-4 mark. During his brief stint in Nashville, Sears went cold 3-for-19 from behind the 3-point line but found his rhythm Thursday.
Clowney’s quick start, Pringle’s great finish
After failing to score 10 points or more against Texas A&M on Sunday, Alabama freshman Noah Clowney sought revenge at his satellite school. Clowney got into a rhythm early on Thursday, converting three of his first four shots from the floor. All four shots are from behind the arc, which continued a hot streak of shots for the 6ft 10 forward.
In his last three games, Clowney has shot 50% or more from behind the bow. In his last five competitions, he has reached a 9v20 mark from Deep, a complete reversal from the 0v20 streak he had two months ago.
However, early foul problems stifled the newcomer’s chance of a truly big day. Clowney picked up three fouls in the first half, forcing Oats to pull him off the ground with five minutes remaining. The freshman got the nod to start the second half, but that was also short-lived as he canceled his fourth foul with 19:31 before the end of regular time.
With a hole in the Alabama front court, Oats turned to Nick Pringle for spark, and the South Carolina native delivered.
In 19 minutes of play, Pringle hit his second double-double of the season, hitting a team-high 19 points and adding a team-high 13 rebounds.
Miller is missing on offense
Miller’s Big Dance debut was one he wishes to forget. After being named SEC Tournament MVP, Miller was unable to compete against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. For the first time this season, the freshman phenom remained scoreless, posting a dismal 5-0 from the floor but adding five rebounds in the win.
It’s also the second time this season that Miller has been goalless in the opening frame. It was his first goose egg since his 4-0 start with Houston on Dec. 10, which was his previous season low of eight points through Thursday.
Source : alabama.rivals.com