Yesterday, Alabama cam e out firing early and often to ride a barrage of three pointers to a huge early lead. Unfortunately, the shooting woes we saw in the games leading up to postseason play returned with a vengeance. Even worse, the Tide turned the ball over nine times in the half, Jahvon Quinerly could get nothing going and seemed to get himself in the doghouse, Brandon Miller sat for ten minutes with two fouls, and Missouri made a ridiculous three-point heave at the buzzer while falling out of bounds.
All that, and the Tide still led by two because they are that much better than this Missouri squad.
The early part of the second half was a struggle for both teams, but Alabama hit back to back threes with about ten minutes to play, which created a bit of separation. The teams traded blows from that point on, with neither team able to affect the margin.
There have been a few games this season in which Brandon Miller had to carry the Tide to victory, and this was one of them. He came out of the locker room and took the game over. Despite foul trouble the freshman superstar did it all, even running point for long stretches of the second straight game in addition to serving as the primary scorer, top rebounder and leader on defense.
Finally, a bit of help came late in the form of three pointers from Gurley, Clowney and Sears. All told, the outside shooting ended up more “bad” than “awful” and Alabama was able to move on to the final round. It was encouraging to see them take care of a NCAA tournament caliber team on a neutral floor when things weren’t clicking on offense.
That said, we’d just as soon not have to do that going forward. Okay, men?
Next up will be the winner of the Texas A&M vs. Vandy tilt that will tip off in a few minutes.