"In my mind this doesn't diminish what this team has been able to accomplish over the course of the season," UA head coach Anthony Grant said. "I am extremely proud of our entire team and it is has been an honor and a privilege to coach them. For our only senior, JaMychal Green, I would have liked him to experience sustained success in this tournament, but unfortunately, for us, our season ends here today."
As soon as Creighton guard Josh Jones missed a pair of foul shots that might have put Alabama away for good with 8.7 seconds left in Friday's Midwest Region second-round game, there was only one thought that came across his mind. "I knew if I missed those free throws and they made a shot, it was all on me," Jones said. "All I could think was: 'Who can I stop now?'" Fortunately for Jones and the Bluejays, he blocked Alabama guard Trevor Releford's 3-pointer with one second left to preserve No. 8 seed Creighton's 58-57 victory over the No. 9-seeded Crimson Tide at Greensboro Coliseum. Alabama players argued Jones hit Releford's arm as he shot -- and TV replays showed as much -- but officials didn't call a foul and the game was over.
Alabama played its style of game Friday against Creighton. The Crimson Tide just didn’t finish it. After missing two crucial free throws with 8.7 seconds left, Creighton guard Josh Jones blocked Trevor Releford’s 3-point attempt as the clock expired to give the Bluejays a 58-57 victory in the NCAA Tournament’s Midwest Regional. Releford thought he got fouled on the shot. “I felt like I got hit, but at the end of the day it’s the ref’s call,” he said. “And you’ve just got to live with it.”
“We got (to the tournament) this year with just one senior and five freshmen,” said Sellers, adding that the future is bright for the Tide no matter the outcome of Friday’s game, thanks to Grant’s recruiting successes. “It kind of reminds me a bit of (UA head football coach Nick) Saban’s progress, once he got some of his own talent in there,” Riehl said.
Creighton, one of the best shooting teams in the nation, finally started shooting like it in the second half. The Bluejays shot 13-of-24 in the second half and 4-of-8 from beyond the arc. They made seven straight during a 14-3 run to put them ahead, right as Alabama was going cold and trying to survive a 6-minute cold snap.
“We beat Alabama at their own game,” Creighton Coach Greg McDermott said of Creighton’s first victory in the N.C.A.A. tournament since 2002. “I would not have guessed that we could win a game at 58-57.”
The top-ranked Alabama softball team scored 12 runs in the first two innings to down Mississippi, 12-2, Friday night at Rhoads Stadium. With the victory the Crimson Tide improve to 23-0 overall and 4-0 in Southeastern Conference play. Alabama opened the game with three runs in the first and then put nine on the board in the second to continue its winning ways against Mississippi. UA has now won 21 straight against the Rebels and improve to 49-2 all-time.
The No. 4 Alabama gymnastics team closed out its regular-season with a 197.625-194.075 win over the North Carolina Tar Heels at home in front of 9,165 fans Friday night. It was Alabama's third highest score of the season and its sixth 197-plus mark in its last seven meets. "I think tonight was a good balance," UA head coach Sarah Patterson said. "We did some things really well and we have some things that we can work on for the postseason. I thought that this was a really good step forward. We wanted to take tonight and help put ourselves in the best position we could be in for next week. I think mentally they probably feel really good about tonight."
It was senior night on Friday in Coleman Coliseum and the Alabama Crimson Tide’s two seniors didn’t disappoint fans. Geralen Stack-Eaton and Ashley Priess, competing for the last time in Tuscaloosa, led the No. 4 Crimson Tide to a convincing 197.625-194.075 win over the North Carolina Tar Heels. The Tide’s score of 197.625 was its third-highest team score of the season. The victory gave Alabama an 11-1 regular season record on the season going into the SEC championships. “I wanted tonight just to be a celebration,” head coach Sarah Patterson said. “If you made a little mistake or a wobble, I wanted it to be a celebration. Whatever they do, we still have some major meets down the road, so tonight I thought we just needed to relax and celebrate.”
Florida and Alabama are way out front. The differences are quantity and quality across the board. Alabama has focused on running backs, receivers, offensive and defensive linemen and tight ends. Florida has a couple of premier running backs and some big commitments on the defensive front. "Top to bottom, as far as talent is concerned, these two are a cut above," Luginbill said.