Brandon Miller bounced back from a poor game to post 19 points and seven rebounds, leading top-seeded Alabama past eighth-seeded Maryland 73-51 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday night in Birmingham, Ala.
Alabama advanced to the South regional next week in Louisville, Ky., and will face No. 5 seed San Diego State in the Sweet 16.
Jahvon Quinerly scored 15 of his game-high 22 in the second half for the Crimson Tide (31-5), while Charles Bediako had 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Alabama only outshot Maryland 39.7 percent to 35.2 percent, but the Crimson Tide owned a 44-32 advantage on the boards, and scored 16 second-chance points on 15 offensive rebounds.
Julian Reese scored 14 points for the Terrapins (22-13) despite heavy foul trouble. Jahmir Young scored 12.
Miller went scoreless in Alabama’s first-round win over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. Along with playing through a lingering groin injury, Miller has been under heavy scrutiny for his involvement in the shooting death of Jamea Harris.
Investigators testified that Miller delivered former teammate Darius Miles’ gun to the scene of the shooting; Miller has been flanked by armed security at the tournament after receiving “threats,” according to coach Nate Oats.
Maryland made its first four field-goal attempts of the night before missing its next nine. The score was stuck at 12-10 Terrapins as neither team could score for a nearly five-minute span, until Bediako’s dunk in transition tied the game with 9:25 left in the half.
Reese picked up two fouls 18 seconds apart and subbed out three minutes into the game. He subbed back in at 11:55 but was whistled for his third foul with 8:50 and had to sit the rest of the half.
Miller’s driving layup at 6:45 marked his first made field goal of the tournament, and his spin move to the left set him up for a baseline jumper with 4:28 left. It turned into an 11-1 run that pushed Alabama ahead 26-17.
But the Terrapins cut it to 28-23 by halftime as Young sank a floater in the lane with one second left.
Concluding a sequence of big defensive plays at both ends of the floor, Miller blocked a Maryland layup off the glass and was fed for an open 3-pointer on the right wing. That gave the Crimson Tide their first double-digit lead, 40-30, with 15:28 to play.
Not long after converting a three-point play, Reese gave his fourth foul in transition with 12:12 to play and headed to the bench. He returned just over a minute later before eventually fouling out at the 2:24 mark.
“I thought our offense settled in the second half,” Oats said on the TV broadcast. “Our defense was pretty good, kept us in the game. Our offense came around. (Quinerly) got a little more aggressive, started hitting some shots.”
Six straight free throws made it a 50-35 Alabama lead with 10:15 to go, and Maryland’s cold shooting kept it from threatening the rest of the way. Back-to-back 3-pointers by Quinerly made it 65-45 with 3:19 left.