TideIllustrated Third pointer: Three points from Alabama’s win over Maryland

Birmingham, Ala. – with two no. 1 Alabama seed ranked from the top of the board is rolling to Sweet 16.

Unlike Kansas and Purdue, the Crimson Tide were able to avoid an upset against No. 8-seeded Maryland, defeating the Terrapins 73-50 and hitting their ticket to Louisville.

Here are three points from Saturday’s win.

It’s finally Miller time

Miller’s introduction to March Madness was not friendly at all. Alabama’s most consistent scorer this season struggled to find the bottom of the net as it went scoreless for over 53 minutes in Birmingham. However, against Maryland, Miller finally got his offense as he made a drive at 6:44 into the first half as he snapped the 0-for-8 mark from the ground. After seeing his first shot fall, it gave Miller a surge of confidence as he finished with nine points in the first half.

With Miller finally getting the proverbial monkey off his back, all that was left for him to do was drain one from the deep and he did just that. During the first two minutes of the second half, Miller dribbled a 3-pointer and then two possessions, then did it again. The two deep balls gave Alabama a double-digit lead, one it would not relinquish thanks to its 19 points.

Alabama sticks to appetizers

If ever there was a calling card for Alabama’s team of the year, it’s deep. The team, known for having eight different leading scorers contributing offense, shortened the bench against Maryland. Normally, Alabama’s power wasn’t very effective against Maryland collecting just three points off the bench in the first half. Nemari Burnett scored all three points at the free throw line with less than four minutes left in the first half.

Even with Burnett’s three points from the goal line, the combined bench went 0-for-4 from the field and was a plus-seven on the floor for the first 20 minutes. For comparison’s sake, the starting unit was a plus 68 during this stretch. Noah Gurley made the unit’s first basket off the ground at the 8:46 mark in the second half.

Reese’s foul problem galvanizes the first half

As Saturday kicked off, all eyes were on the battle between 6-foot-9 forward Julian Reese and 7-foot-7 Charles Pediaco. Reese, who is Maryland’s leading tackle and shot blocker, was hampered by an early foul problem Saturday. Reese made his third mistake with 8:50 left in the first half and with him benched, Alabama went on a 14-3 run to close out the first half with five points. During that span, three of Alabama’s five baskets were baskets that had Maryland’s rim guard affixed to the bench.

With the loss of Reese, Maryland really struggled to get their offense going as they missed 20 of their 22 shots to close out the half. Alabama dominated the rebounding battle, making 44 boards to Maryland’s 32. Pediako took full advantage of the smaller Maryland team, scoring his third double-double of the season with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

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