Miller dazzles, No. 2 Alabama defeats South Carolina 78-76 in overtime battle

Mathey Gibson, Staff Reporter

Considering the circumstances, it might’ve been the performance of a lifetime.  

On Wednesday, No. 2 Alabama defeated the South Carolina Gamecocks 78-76 in an overtime game that caught the national audience’s attention.  

Leading the way for the Crimson Tide was freshman sensation Brandon Miller, who poured in a career high 41 points on 14-for-25 shooting from the floor, drilling six of his 13 attempts from downtown.  

Miller, a 6-foot-9 forward from Antioch, Tennessee, had recently been implicated in the Darius Miles capital murder trial, facing public backlash over his alleged involvement as a cooperative witness. Miller’s attorney released a statement before the game, saying that Miller has cooperated with law enforcement and will continue to do so as necessary. 

While the aftermath of Tuesday’s revelations continued to billow through social media, it was a night to remember for the SEC Player of the Year frontrunner, who scored more than half of the Crimson Tide’s 27 made shot attempts while posting eight rebounds and tallying two blocks amidst thunderous chants of “lock him up” and boo-birds from the crowd in Columbia.  

“[Miller] is one of the most mentally tough kids I’ve ever coached,” Alabama head coach Nate Oats said. “I’m not surprised he came ready to play and played well tonight.” 

It was a big game for Alabama center Charles Bediako, who scored 10 points on 4-for-4 shooting while grabbing nine rebounds and pinning two against the glass of his own. 

Bediako, a seven-foot sophomore from Brampton, Ontario, continues his improved play down the stretch as the frontcourt defensive anchor and interior finisher in Tuscaloosa, ranking as the third most impactful defender in the country per analytics website 

Outside of Miller and Bediako, it was a lackluster performance elsewhere, as the Crimson Tide only managed to drain nine of 33 shots from the field outside of the lengthy duo’s efforts – a showing that the fourth-year head coach knows must change during the final stages of SEC play.  

“If I want to make an excuse for [the rest of the team’s play] I could use it, but I’m not really a guy who makes too many excuses,” Oats said. “We’ve got to play better. Some of those other guys didn’t play up to their typical performance.” 

Now amidst the heat of a tight race with Texas A&M for the SEC regular season crown, Oats’ squad will turn their attention towards a matchup Eric Musselman’s University of Arkansas Razorbacks on Saturday. 

Tipoff for No. 2 Alabama versus the Arkansas Razorbacks is set for Saturday, Feb. 25 at 1 p.m. CT on ESPN2.  

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