No. 1 Alabama defeats eighth-seeded Maryland 73-51, advances to Sweet 16

Mathey Gibson, Staff Reporter

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — On Saturday, No. 1 Alabama defeated the University of Maryland Terrapins 73-51 in a painstakingly slow defensive battle which saw Nate Oats’ squad close the door down the stretch.  

It was a big night for freshman sensation Brandon Miller, who tallied 19 points, seven rebounds and block after posting a scoreless line versus Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Thursday, March 16 

Miller, a 6-foot-9 forward from Antioch, Tennessee, has been dealing with a groin injury and was on a minutes restriction coming into the game. That didn’t stop the projected lottery pick from having a critical performance on the national stage.  

“I’m 100%,” Miller said. “Just really, like I said, it’s just the preparation. I feel like Nate [Oats], Clarke [Holter] prepped for this game. Just physical-wise. So, I think it’s the biggest thing was the preparation coming into this game.”  

Jahvon Quinerly’s March Madness display of excellence continued versus the Terrapins, as the senior poured in 22 points on 9-for-14 shooting, drilling four of his six attempts from beyond the arc while grabbing two boards and dishing out two assists.  

Quinerly, a 6-foot-1 guard from Hackensack, New Jersey, has become one of the feel-good stories of the postseason, as his triumphant return from a devastating ACL tear in March of 2021 continues to snag headlines. 

“Look, I love J.Q. He has a big heart,” said Alabama head coach Nate Oats. “He’s trying to lead these guys. He’s grown up a lot since he got here. You know, it was ironic when we played at A&M, Jay Wright had our game. Me and Jay were talking, you know, Jahvon came over and gave Jay a hug. Jay said, ‘Man, he has grown up a lot as a leader since I had him.’ He’s grown up a lot since we first had him. He’s made big strides. He understands what’s important. He speaks up when he needs to speak up. He’s taken ownership of this team.” 

Anchoring the frontcourt once again was sophomore Charles Bediako, who scored 10 points on 4-for-5 shooting while grabbing 10 rebounds, blocking two shots and posting two steals.  

Bediako, a seven-foot center from Brampton, Ontario, continues to impress with his defensive prowess and improvement on the offensive end. 

“He’s been a huge presence for us,” Quinerly said. “I really think he made that jump from this year from last year. And he’s been huge for us. You know, I feel like he doesn’t get a ton of credit, but, you know, his teammates are definitely — we try and let him know that he’s a huge part of what we do.” 

After defeating Kevin Willard’s defensive-minded Terrapins, the Crimson Tide will look to exercise their past Sweet 16 demons with a matchup versus five seed San Diego State University coming on Friday.  

Tipoff for No. 1 Alabama versus No. 18 San Diego State is set for Friday, March 24 in Louisville, Kentucky. Tipoff time is TBA.  

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