Three-point barrage sends Alabama Basketball to Phoenix

Clemson v Alabama
Clemson v Alabama / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages

The early moments of Alabama’s Elite 8 game against Clemson were a tough watch. While North Carolina tried to run with Alabama from the jump in the previous round, Clemson deliberately slowed the ball down. With the Tigers dictating the pace, the Crimson Tide looked out of sorts and out of rhythm.

Brad Brownell’s team controlled much of the opening period, leading by as much as 13. However, in the waning minutes of the first half, the momentum began to shift.

The Tide finally caught and passed Clemson on a Rylan Griffen three-pointer to give it a 29-28 lead with just under three minutes left in the half. Alabama would allow Clemson to retake the lead very briefly and just once more in the first minute of the second half, but remained firmly in control for the rest of the game. 

Renowned for its three-point shooting all year long, Bama hit 16 threes on over 44 percent from outside. This included 10 second-half triples on a blistering 67 percent, a barrage the Tigers could not overcome. 

The Crimson Tide did all of this without its best three-point shooter, as Latrell Wrightsell Jr. was unable to suit up for the second straight game.

All-American guard Mark Sears led the way with seven three-pointers after catching fire in the second half, but freshman forward Jarin Stevenson kept the Tide in it early. Stevenson delivered a career-best performance in the Elite 8, knocking in five triples and contributing 19 points in the win.

Though Clemson found its own offense in the second half and hit several timely buckets, there were moments that felt like the Tigers were trying their best not to get washed away by the Tide. And, fair enough; with Bama going 10-15 from three in the second half, even a Clemson drought of a couple possessions would’ve blown the game wide open. 

Under Coach Nate Oats and his unique system, Bama is always a threat to go off. The team regularly hits double-digit three-point field goals (21 times this season), and has now hit 15 or more on eight different occasions.

Needless to say, the Crimson Tide must continue to shoot lights out as it heads to Phoenix to play on college basketball’s biggest stage. The confidence boost gained from its two biggest wins of the year, and a possible Wrightsell return, should help the cause.