The No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, Alabama, took care of business in their first round matchup against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi by way of a 96-75 beating. An early 9-0 run to start the game set the tone for the Crimson Tide and they never looked back.
In recent games, Alabama had struggled in the first half, but Thursday the Crimson Tide took the championship form that has been shown throughout the season. For the fifth time this season, Alabama dropped 50 points or more in the first half. The Crimson Tide's shooting was lights out in the first half, converting on 53% of their shots including 59% from behind the arc. Alabama spread the scoring around having eight different players record a point, led by Mark Sears who scored 13 points in the first half — a pleasant sign after struggling in the SEC Tournament scoring just 15 points over the three game stretch.
SEC Player of the Year and SEC Tournament MVP Brandon Miller had a rough NCAA Tournament debut, going scoreless for the first time this season. Miller went 0-for-5 from the floor and added five rebounds in the win. Miller’s previous season low in scoring was eight points before Thursday.
With Miller not providing any offense for the Tide, Noah Clowney stepped up, catching fire from behind the arc early hitting three of his four three-point attempts, a big confidence boost after having a rough stretch from two months ago when he went 0-for-20. Unfortunately for Clowney, he got in foul trouble early, which prevented him from having a big day and he finished with 10 points.
After Clowney received his fourth foul with 19 minutes left in the game, coach Nate Oats brought in Nick Pringle to fill in. In just 19 minutes of work, Pringle recorded a double-double leading Alabama in both points with 19, and rebounds with 15. The size and length of Alabama proved to be a huge factor as they dominated the paint against the smaller opponent.
Next up, Alabama will face No. 8 seed Maryland Saturday in the NCAA Tournament’s second round on Saturday, March 18, in Birmingham at Legacy Arena.
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