Brandon Miller shows out with career day against Gonzaga at Legacy Arena

Will Miller, Staff Reporter

The Alabama men’s basketball team was faced with the unenviable task of taking on then-No. 1 ranked Houston, No. 15 Gonzaga, and unranked Memphis between Dec. 10 and Dec. 17. In the finale of that tough stretch at Birmingham’s Legacy Arena, freshman forward Brandon Miller went off against Gonzaga in the No. 4 Crimson Tide’s loss.  

Despite Miller putting a few dozen on the board, Alabama was unable to cement its second win over the Bulldogs in as many seasons. Instead, Alabama lost at the C.M. Newton Classic for the second time in as many seasons. 

Miller had a career-high 36 points to lead all scorers, including Gonzaga veteran Drew Timme, who had 29. Timme, one of the most experienced players in the nation, lifted his own offense much in the same way that Miller did for the Crimson Tide (9-2).  

“It’s just a learning process,” Miller said. “I just stay close to my teammates and just play off them.” 

Alabama head coach Nate Oats, to no one’s surprise, was complimentary of Miller’s efforts. 

“It’s nice to have a guy that can go score the basketball at a pretty high clip to keep you in some games when you’re struggling in some other areas,” Oats said. “He got a golden arm, especially in the second half. It’s a good thing he did, or we would have been in some real trouble. Brandon’s really talented, as we know. … We’ve got to figure out ways to use him when teams cover him different ways, and what we’ve got to do a little bit better to counteract what teams are doing. It’s not the last time he’s going to have some explosive games like that.” 

Miller scored 26 of his points in the second half. He shot 2-of-5 in the first half to be one of only two double-figure scorers for Alabama in the half. 

“[My teammates] always keep me going,” Miller said. “They just encourage me to go even harder when I’m tired, or even when I’m still going hard.” 

Gonzaga head coach Mark Few tipped his cap to Miller’s performance as well.  

“Miller just hit some incredible shots, tough shots,” Few said. “We mixed up some things on him at the end, and I think that helped.”  

Timme followed his coach by calling Miller a “lottery-level guy.” 

When the dust settled, Miller’s final stat line was 12-for-22 from the field with a game-best six triples. He played 37 minutes and shot 100% at the charity stripe. He also had six rebounds, an assist and a steal. 

“It was tough guarding him,” Gonzaga’s Anton Watson said. “He kind of started to heat up, and that’s when it got tough.” 

With a bright future at the Capstone and beyond, Miller has already performed at a high level. Saturday’s game was his best yet, and Crimson Tide fans are edge-of-seat eager to see what he can do going forward. 

Questions or comments? Email Blake Byler (Sports Editor) at [email protected]