PORTLAND, Ore. – The No. 18/18 Alabama men’s basketball team opened up the Phil Knight Invitational with an 81-70 win over No. 12/15 Michigan State, advancing to the winner’s bracket to face No. 20 UConn on Friday. Brandon Miller led the way for the Crimson Tide, scoring a game-high 24 points to go along with nine rebounds and two blocks.
The first half went back-and-forth with nine lead changes and four ties. Miller sparked Alabama’s offense by scoring 17 points to go along with five rebounds in the opening stanza. The Tide got hot late in the half, shooting 48.5 percent (16-of-33) in the first half and capped it off with a three-pointer from Miller at the buzzer to take a 42-37 lead at the break.
Alabama’s defense was exceptional in protecting the three-point line, as the Spartans did not make a three-pointer until the 13:49 mark in the second half. Jahvon Quinerly and Alabama’s bench came up clutch throughout the second half, scoring 16 of Alabama’s 39 points over the final 20 minutes led by Quinerly’s eight points to go along with three rebounds and a pair of assists.
Head Coach Nate Oats Postgame Comments
“That is a great win for us. They (Michigan State) easily could have been 4-0 coming into this game so I am proud of the way our guys responded. I thought we closed the first half great and had a good opening four minutes other than the two points, and then I thought we closed the first half well. I think we opened the game up well and got into their lack of depth obviously without them having a couple of guys in the rotation we were able to wear them out a little bit. Credit to them, they hit some tough three-pointers and got to the free-throw line a bunch and were able to stay in the game and make it somewhat a close game, it would be nice to close out a little bit better. It is a quality win, we are headed in the right direction.”
- Alabama is now 5-0 for the first time since 2017-18
- This is Alabama’s eighth win over an AP top-15 opponent under Nate Oats
- The Tide outscored MSU 38-30 inside the paint
- Michigan State was the first team to outrebound Alabama this season (42-40)
- The Tide made eight three-pointers while holding the Spartans to just four
- Alabama’s bench outscored Michigan State’s 24-13
- The Tide’s defense held Michigan State to a season-low field goal percentage (.387)
- MSU’s Joey Hauser scored nine points against Alabama, the fewest points he has scored in a game this season
- Alabama’s first three made field goals of the game were dunks
- Alabama used an 8-0 run within the first minutes of the game to take an 8-2 lead
- Alabama’s defense did not allow Michigan State to make a field goal until the 14:09 mark in the first half
- Midway through the half the Spartans went on a 7-0 run to take a 21-15 lead.
- After trailing 27-30 with four and a half minutes left in the half the Tide outscored Michigan State 15-7 to close out the half
- Noah Clowney filled the stat sheet in the first half with nine points, four rebounds, three assists, two steals and one assist
- The Tide got hot shooting 50 percent (8-16) in the first 10 minutes to take a 67-49 lead, its biggest lead of the game
- Alabama outrebounded Michigan State 24-23 in the second half
- The Crimson Tide shot 40 percent (12-30) from the field while holding the Spartans to 33 percent (11-13)
- The Tide’s offense recorded eight assists off 12 made field goals
- Nimari Burnett and Quinerly led the way for the Tide on offense in the second each scoring eight points
- Alabama will face UConn in the semifinals on the Phil Knight Invitational
- Tipoff is set for 8:30 p.m. CT at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum and will be aired on ESPN