HomeSportsThe 3-pointer: Three takeaways from Alabama's win over Maryland

The 3-pointer: Three takeaways from Alabama’s win over Maryland

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – With two No. 1 seeds off the board, Alabama rolls into the Sweet 16 with the top seeds.

Unlike Kansas and Purdue, the Crimson Tide was able to avoid the upset against No. 8 seed Maryland by beating the Terrapins 73-50 and punching its ticket to Louisville.

Here are three takeaways from Saturday’s win.

It’s finally Miller Time

Miller’s introduction to March Madness was anything but friendly. Alabama’s most consistent scorer this season, struggled to find the bottom of the net as he was held scoreless for over 53 minutes at Birmingham. However, against Maryland, Miller finally got his offense going when a driving layup broke an 0-for-8 from the floor at 6:44 in the first half. After seeing his first shot land, Miller gained confidence as he finished with nine points in the first half.

Now that Miller finally got the proverbial monkey off his back, all he had to do was get one out of the depths and he did just that. Within the first two minutes of the second half, Miller fielded a 3-pointer and two possessions later, he did it again. The two deep balls gave Alabama a double-digit lead that it would not relinquish thanks to its 19 points.

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Alabama sticks to appetizers

If there’s been a calling card for this year’s Alabama team, it’s depth. The team known for having eight different scorers contribute to the offense shortened the bench against Maryland. Typically, a strength for Alabama was not very effective against Maryland, as it managed just three points off the bench in the first half. Nimari Burnett scored all three points at the free throw line with less than four minutes left in the first half.

Even with Burnett’s three points from the line, the bench went a combined 0-for-4 from the field and was a plus-seven on the floor in the first 20 minutes. By comparison, the starting unit was a plus-68 during that stretch. Noah Gurley made the unit’s first basket from the floor at 8:46 in the second half.

Reese’s foul trouble sets up a run in the first half

At the start of Saturday’s matchup, all eyes were fixed on the battle between 6-foot forward Julian Reese and 7-footer Charles Bediako. Reese, Maryland’s leading rebounder and shot blocker, was hampered by early foul problems on Saturday. Reese got his third foul with 8:50 left in the first half and with him on the bench, Alabama went on a 14-3 run to finish the first half with five points. During that span, three of Alabama’s five basket layups with Maryland’s edge guard glued to the bench.

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With Reese missing, Maryland really struggled to get its offense going as it missed 20 of its 22 shots to close out the half. Alabama dominated in the rebounding battle with 44 boards to Maryland’s 32. Bediako took full advantage of an underpowered Maryland team and scored his third double-double of the season with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

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