Miller shines, No. 4 Alabama routs Mississippi State in SEC Tournament quarterfinals

Mathey Gibson, Staff Reporter

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — On Friday, March, 10, No. 4 Alabama defeated the Mississippi State Bulldogs 72-49 behind a blistering 27-for-67 performance from the floor, drilling 13 of 37 shots from downtown. 

Leading the way in the first half for the Crimson Tide was senior Jahvon Quinerly, who tallied eight points on 3-for-5 shooting from the floor en route to a 10-point, two-rebound, four-assist effort. 

Quinerly, a 6-foot-1 guard from Hackensack, New Jersey, earned his first start of the season in Nashville after improving his play as of late, having posted double-digit scoring numbers in four straight games. 

“Jaden Bradley came to me, said he thought it would be better if Quinerly started,” Alabama head coach Nate Oats said on The Crimson Sports Network pregame show. 

“That’s what kind of team we have. Guys are really just trying to figure out what’s best for the team.” 

Guiding the frontcourt for Alabama was defensive anchor Charles Bediako, who poured in 11 points, six rebounds and five blocks on 5-for-6 shooting from the floor. 

Bediako, a seven-foot center from Brampton, Ontario, could not be contained by Bulldog frontcourt, overpowering Mississippi State with his size and athleticism on both ends of the floor — even converting a finger-roll layup early in the first half. 

“It’s great that he had a good game on his birthday,” Oats said. “Kind of got onto him through the first four minutes of the second half. … He came back in, had some blocks, and kind of sealed the game.” 

Up to his usual tricks was Crimson Tide forward Brandon Miller, who posted 18 points, nine rebounds and five assists on 6-for-14 shooting in a return home to the Music City. 

Miller, a 6-foot-9, 210-pound forward from Antioch, Tennessee, was recently named the 2022-23 SEC Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year after producing a monstrous stat line of 19.6 points, 8.0 rebounds and 1.8 assists on 45% shooting from the floor during the regular season. 

“I feel like we just have a great group of guys that just want to win, willing to make all the dirty plays, like diving on the floor, taking charges,” Miller told ESPN postgame. “It’s all about the blue-collar stuff at Alabama basketball.” 

It was a big day for senior forward Noah Gurley, who scored 11 points on 4-for-6 shooting while grabbing three rebounds and a steal to boot. 

Gurley, a 6-foot-8, 210-pound forward from Fayetteville, Georgia, played 21 minutes — his highest number since tallying 20 in a 93-69 loss to The University of Oklahoma on Jan. 28. 

“We’ve talked about his leadership all year, I think you see it,” Oats said. “For a guy to have some DNPs late in the year, for a fifth-year senior, who was a big contributor that started a lot of games last year, to have himself mentally ready to go … I think he embodies our team, to be honest with you.” 

After a blowout of Chris Jans’ Bulldogs, the Crimson Tide will set their sights on a trip to the semifinals coming tomorrow afternoon.  

Tipoff for No. 4 Alabama versus Missouri at Bridgestone Arena is set for Saturday, March 10, at 12 p.m. CT on ESPN. 

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