Alabama Basketball: Birmingham ‘Sweet’ to Crimson Tide

Gary Cosby Jr.-Tuscaloosa NewsNcaa Basketball March Madness Alabama Vs Maryland
Gary Cosby Jr.-Tuscaloosa NewsNcaa Basketball March Madness Alabama Vs Maryland /

The late start for Alabama Basketball Saturday night in Birmingham was matched by the Tide’s slow start. It took almost six minutes for the Tide to score 10 points on the Maryland Terrapins. Then it took almost five minutes to score two more points.

The game was tied 17-17 at the 6:15 mark of the first half. Aided by three made free throws by Nimari Burnett after earning a foul outside the arc, Alabama pushed a lead to nine points. At the half, the score was Alabama 28 – Maryland 25.

The Crimson Tide never trailed in the second half, leading by as much as 24 points, before closing the game with a 73-51 win.

Alabama Basketball Team Leaders

Jahvon Quinerly led Alabama in scoring with 22 points. Brandon Miller scored 19 points and showed no sign of being hampered by his previous groin injury. Charles Bediako had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds, along with two blocks and two steals. Noah Clowney pulled down nine boards and Brandon Miller grabbed seven. As a team, Alabama outrebounded Maryland, 44-32.

After the game, talking about Alabama taking so long to break the game open, Nate Oats said,

"We may not make shots but we’ve constructed a team, we’ve got a style of play … our defense is good enough."

The comment by Oats was both accurate and understated. Alabama was outstanding on defense against the Terrapins. Maryland shot just 35.2% for the game.

Nate Oats added,

"We’ve got more in us, I think. … We’re going to have to get better production out of some of our guys."

Nate Oats was not talking about Brandon Miller and he certainly was not talking about Jahvon Quinerly.

After his superlative game performance, Jahvon Quinerly commented on the team,

"I’m just gonna let the guys know, we’re close. We’re very close. But we still got a ways to go."

Alabama did not play its best in the NCAA Tournament Round of 32. At less than its best, it won by 22 points and coasted in the last couple of minutes. No offense to Maryland, but the Crimson Tide will need more to make a Final Four. But, the ‘more’ as Quinerly opined is within reach.

On Friday, Maryland coach, Kevin Willard said,

"I think [Alabama] is the most talented roster I’ve seen in college basketball since the ’93-’94 Kentucky team. (Alabama) reminds me of that team with the length, athleticism, how unselfish they play, very similar point guards."

Listen to what Kevin Willard said about Jahvon Quinerly.

On Saturday night Alabama Basketball showed Maryland and Willard more than its talent. The Tide also showed its blue-collar side. Much is said about Nate Oats’ offensive schemes; so much that the Tide’s consistent defensive performance gets less attention. Nate Oats often reminds everyone, the offensive flash, doesn’t win without the Tide’s hard work on defense.

Next. Crimson Tide in the NCAA Tournament. dark

One other thought, late on Saturday night. Unlike another SEC coach, Nate Oats did not celebrate like a crazy man after the game.