Alabama hangs on, wins first NCAA Tournament game since 2006

Mar 17, 2018, 02:06
Alabama hangs on, wins first NCAA Tournament game since 2006

Petty finished with 20 points on 6-of-8 from 3-point range, while Sexton continued his strong postseason play with his 15th consecutive double-digit scoring effort to secure Alabama's first NCAA Tournament win in 12 years. Now they're the centerpiece of coach Avery Johnson's dynamic attack with the Crimson Tide.

But the Crimson Tide had a nice showing in the SEC Tournament and were able to secure an at-large bid.

Both these teams have shown a capability to beat good teams during the season, and that experience will be needed in this opening-round matchup.

In his final game wearing orange and maroon threads, senior Justin Bibbs scored 17 points, while fellow senior and Pittsburgh native Devin Wilson was held scoreless in his last game.

Virginia Tech simply didn't have an answer down the stretch for Sexton or his ability to facilitate. He scored 8 points on 4-of-5 shooting and was great filling in for Collin Sexton during his foul trouble. The former five-star point guard should be a lottery pick this spring and will be one of the first point guards selected this spring. Two years ago, it won a national title on the final play of the game. And rather than force shots late, Sexton tried to get to the rim.

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Fouls nearly played the spoiler for the Tide.

He'll meet a player who's his equal in Sexton, a freshman phenom known both for his electric touch with the ball and for frustrating defenders.

Keys to the Game1.

Alabama also got a boost with the return of forward Donta Hall, who sat out the SEC tournament loss in concussion protocol. "We couldn't guard them from three". But the Hokies could never extend a lead on Alabama hung within two possessions the entire half by going 16-for-27 from the field.

Prediction: Alabama has a gritty team, and with a star like Sexton, they're capable of beating any team in the country. Alabama will need to cut down on turnovers; the Tide had 17 against Virginia Tech. The Hokies, despite some of their struggles, are shooting 71% from the line while Alabama is shooting a dismal 67.2% from the line. They had 28 free throw attempts, while Alabama had 15.

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Evans shot 10-of-10 from the free throw line, grabbed six boards and passed out five assists in the victory.

Experience matters in March, and the Hokies have the benefit of last year's NCAA Tournament to prepare them for this year's game.

Kevin Knox scored 25 points and had six rebounds to lead the scoring while Shai Gilgeous-Alexander finished with 19 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and five steals. Back in January, the Wildcat coach said Nick Saban might be one of the best coaches in sports history. The Sooners (18-14), though, lost for the seventh time in nine games and 12th in their past 16. That play also led to VT head coach Buzz Williams getting a technical foul for throwing paper onto the court.

Plenty of Alabama players have had an impact on the team's success this season, but none has been as good as Sexton.

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