Alabama pulls away late for win over Virginia Tech

Kansas&apos Marcus Garrett gets past Kansas State's Amaad Wainright to put up a shot during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in the semifinals of the Big 12 conference tournament in Kansas City Mo. Friday
Alabama pulls away late for win over Virginia Tech
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18 March, 2018

With AP Photos.Top-seeded Villanova tries to move on to the Sweet 16 with a win over Alabama.

It wasn't completely useless, though, this St. Patrick's Day sobering of Alabama's young basketball team in the NCAA Tournament's Round of 32. Including Thursday's opening-round win over Virginia Tech, Sexton now has 16 20-point games.

"The trajectory obviously has been very steep".

To get to this second-round matchup, the Wildcats took down No. 16 underdog Radford 87-61.

Rambler facts: Loyola is used to winning too, with its last loss coming on January 31 during a stretch of 18 wins in 19 games. They finished with 63.

"Oh my gosh", Williams said. Point guard play is so often the great decider in this tournament.

"The higher you go, the altitude changes". It's harder to breathe. "We need to continue to get reps at that".

The 2006-07 Hokies were so good that they landed a No. 5 seed in the NCAA field.

"They are a No. 1 seed for a reason".

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"Honestly, I wasn't paying attention to how many 3s we were hitting", Brunson said. "The journey's just beginning".

"Honestly, I feel like it's going to be a good game for us". The Wildcats jumped out to an early lead and padded it as the game went on.

"You never want to take a loss no matter where you're at in the country", Wilson said. When it works, and it usually works, they are clearly one of the best teams in the tournament.

"That's what we do here", he said. "Maybe a couple weeks down the road you can kind of look back at that...as of right now, you're upset that we lost and that's all that is really on my mindset right now". Justin Bibbs added 17 and freshman Nickeil Alexander-Walker netted 15.

Brunson is the heady veteran, the probable eventual victor of multiple National Player of the Year honors. I'm very familiar with his game, and again, I know the focus will be on the matchup Collin and Jalen. Loyola Chicago (28-5), 3:10 p.m., truTV: The Hurricanes will be without point guard Bruce Brown, which diminishes them. The Wildcats shot almost 60 percent in the game and hit for 14 triples in the win. It was the best percentage by a Tech foe since North Carolina State shot 64.1 percent in a January 2017 win over the Hokies. The junior guard scored 22 second-half points, including five 3s to finish with a game-high 23 points on the afternoon. That margin came after a 21-1 run which began with a Donte DiVincenzo triple just seconds before the halftime intermission and was punctuated with the quick start to the decisive second half.

The Wildcats rank 47th in blocks allowed per game (2.7) while the Crimson Tide rank 170th (3.7). We had some breakdowns, but those mistakes were correctable. Villanova finished 17 of 41 from deep. Alabama missed its first six shots in the second half. Over the first 10 minutes of the second half the Wildcats were 8-of-10 from the field and sank all six of their attempts from beyond the 3-point arc. Alabama held close for almost 20 minutes, trailing 29-27 before the final possession of the first half. "Our adjustment on the pick-and-roll coverage helped us stay in better position". That was Robinson's fifth foul, and it infuriated Williams.

Player of the game: Sexton.

Virginia Tech would get one final chance with less than a minute left, trailing 78-74, as Robinson came up with a steal out of a timeout. Sexton made 1 of 2 free throws and then added two more on Alabama's ensuing possession to give the Crimson Tide enough of a cushion.

"I shouldn't have had the towel in my hand". I think it strikes midnight for the ramblers. [Former ACC official] John Cahill ... told me later it was a charge.


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