Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Alabama men’s basketball holds off Clemson to advance to school’s first Final Four
Courtesy of UA Athletics
Alabama forward Nick Pringle (23) shoots the ball against Clemson at Arena in Los Angeles, CA on Saturday, Mar 30, 2024.

Revenge is sweet, especially when the reward is a program-first trip to the Final Four.  

Despite a slow start, Alabama men’s basketball showed up on both ends of the floor to secure an 89-82 win over the Clemson Tigers and a spot in the Final Four in Phoenix, Arizona.  

“I couldn’t be more proud of this group of guys,” Alabama head coach Nate Oats said. “We challenged them at the beginning of this tournament that we’re going to have to pick up our defense. Our defense got significantly better, and they’ve just been all about winning. Nobody really cares who’s scoring the points.” 

With its season on the line, Alabama again saw players stepping up to play the hero, after Mouhamed Dioubate and Grant Nelson did so against Grand Canyon and North Carolina, respectively.  

This time, forwards Jarin Stevenson and Nick Pringle put the Crimson Tide on their backs to help immortalize their team in college basketball history.  

Stevenson scored a career-high 19 points on 5-8 shooting from downtown. The freshman had just 9 combined points and shot a collective 2-8 from downtown in Alabama’s first three tournament games. 

“It’s mainly just practice,” Stevenson said. “I knew just from practice that I can knock those shots down. I was focusing on the next shot. Even though I airballed one or two 3s, just focusing on the next shot really helped me shoot better.”  

Pringle recorded his second double-double of the tournament with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Six of those rebounds came in the form of crucial offensive rebounds. Pringle was also responsible for eight of the 15 free throws made by Alabama. 

The Crimson Tide saw yet another slow offensive start, missing several shots inside the paint. Alabama made just five of its first 15 shots inside, with the 3-point line not being much more forgiving.  

After this rough stretch, the Crimson Tide would flip the switch, going on a 22-6 tear to end the half. Alabama held a 35-32 lead going into the break.  

Guard Mark Sears shook off an extremely slow start in which he missed his first seven attempts from the field. After this, he made eight of his next 11 attempts, including five straight makes from downtown in the second half. He led Alabama in scoring with 23 points. 

Despite Alabama finding its offensive gear, Clemson was a long way from giving up, as the two teams turned the Elite Eight into a 3-point contest in the second half.  

There was a stretch when the two teams made six combined 3s in just under two minutes, daring each other to respond with each possession. 

As Clemson tried to battle back, the late-game heroics from Pringle and Sears were just too strong, as the two sealed the game with daggers from the free-throw line and 3-point line, respectively.  

After the final seconds had ticked off the clock and Alabama’s trip to Arizona became official, Oats finally saw where he envisioned this team could be all season, donning Final Four gear as they cut down the nets in a crimson-and-white rainstorm of confetti.  

“I’m just feeling a lot of emotions,” Sears said. “Being from the state of Alabama and doing it with this group of guys, it’s amazing.” 

Despite spirits being as high as they have ever been both in the program and the fan base, Alabama basketball still has a job to do.  

To do that job, David will have to slay Goliath, as the top-seeded UConn Huskies stand in the way of a national championship appearance for the Crimson Tide. It’s a UConn team that has trailed for only 28 seconds in the entirety of this year’s tournament and happens to be defending a title.  

Alabama will have its shot at the Huskies in Glendale, Arizona, on Saturday, April 6, with the time to be determined. The game will be broadcast on TBS.  

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