The No. 18 Alabama men’s basketball team opened the Phil Knight Invitational with an 81-70 win over No. 12 Michigan State and advanced to the winning group on Friday to take on No. 20 UConn. Brandon Miller led the way for the Crimson Tide, scoring a game-high 24 points, plus nine rebounds and two blocks.
The first half was a back-and-forth with nine lead changes and four draws. Miller sparked Alabama’s offense and scored 17 points that came with five rebounds. The Tide got hot late in the half, shooting 48.5 percent in the first half (16-33) and topping it off with a three-pointer from Miller on the buzzer to take a 42-37 lead at the break.
Alabama’s defense was exceptional at protecting the three-point line, as the Spartans failed to score a three-pointer until the 13:49 mark in the second half. Jahvon Quinerly and Alabama’s bench got on the clutch throughout the second half, scoring 16 of Alabama’s 39 second-half points, led by Quinerly’s eight points to go along with three rebounds and two assists.
Head Coach Nate Oats Post-game comments
“It’s a great win for us. They (Michigan State) could easily have gone into this game 4-0, so I’m proud of how our boys reacted. I thought we finished the first half great and had a good opening four minutes apart from the two points and then I thought we finished the first half well. I think we opened the game well and obviously got into their lack of depth without them having a couple of guys in the rotation that we could take credit to them, they hit some hard threes and got to the free throw line a couple of times and were able to stay in the game and make it a pretty tight game it would be nice to close a little better. It’s a gain in quality, we’re on the right track.”
- Alabama is now 5-0 for the first time since 2017-18
- This is Alabama’s eighth win against an AP Top 15 opponent under Nate Oats
- The tide topped MSU 38-30 in color
- Michigan State was the first team to overtake Alabama this season (42-40)
- The Tide made eight threes while the Spartans held just four
- Alabama’s bench surpassed Michigan State’s by 24-13
- The Tide’s defense kept Michigan State at a season-low field goals (.387)
- Joey Hauser had nine points against Alabama, the fewest points he has scored in a game this season
- Alabama’s first three field goals of the game were dunks
- Alabama used an 8-0 run within the first few minutes of the game to lead 8-2
- Alabama’s defense didn’t allow Michigan State a field goal until the 14:09 mark in the first half
- In the middle of the half, the Spartans went over to a 21:15 lead with a 7:0 run.
- After trailing 27-30 with a four-and-a-half minute lead at halftime, the Tide outplayed Michigan State 15-7 to end the halftime
- Noah Cloney filled the stats in the first half with nine points, four rebounds, three assists, two steals and one assist
- The Tide put up a 50-percent (8-16) hot shooting in the first 10 minutes to take a 67-49 lead, the game’s biggest lead
- Alabama beat Michigan State 24-23 in the second half
- The Crimson Tide shot 40 percent (12-30) from the field while the Spartans stayed at 33 percent (11-13).
- The Tide’s offense recorded eight assists from 12 field goals scored
- Nimari Burnett and Jahvon Quinerly went ahead on the second offense for the Tide, scoring eight points each
- Alabama meets UConn in the semifinals of the Phil Knight Invitational
- Tipoff is scheduled for 8:30 pm CT at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum and will air on ESPN
*** This information comes from a recent press release from Alabama Athletics.
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