Alabama buried Texas A&M-Corpus Christi under an early 3-point onslaught, launching the NCAA Tournament’s top seed to a 96-75 first-round romp on Thursday even with star freshman Brandon Miller going scoreless.
The Crimson Tide (30-5) set aside their off-court distractions and buried 10 first-half 3s in a predictably easy win over the 16th-seeded Islanders (24-11) at Legacy Arena, less than an hour from campus.
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Miller, the All-American who has been beset by questions about his presence at the scene of a fatal shooting, sat out the final 14 minutes and missed all five field goal attempts. His previous low was eight points against Houston on Dec. 10.
Miller hasn’t been accused of any crime in the shooting, which led to capital murder charges against then-teammate Darius Miles and another man.
Alabama didn’t need the 6-foot-9 freshman to have a big game to advance to play eighth-seeded Maryland on Saturday in the South Region. The Tide coasted after leading 54-34 by the half.
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Nick Pringle, a junior college transfer who came in averaging 3 points a game, scored 17 and had a season-high 13 rebounds. Mark Sears made three 3s in a 58-second span of the first half and scored 15 points. Jahvon Quinerly scored 13 and Nimari Burnett had 11.
Noah Clowney scored all 10 of his points in the first five-plus minutes, including three 3s.
Trevian Tennyson led the Islanders with 20 points. Isaach Mushula scored 16 and Owen Dease 14. The Islanders have never beaten a ranked team.
Coach Steve Lutz has lifted the Islanders to two straight NCAA Tournaments since taking over a team that had gone 5-19 the year before his arrival.
The Islanders were without Terrion Murdix (left knee injury), the Southland League defensive player of the year.
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Texas A&M-Corpus Christi: Advanced with its first tourney win in a play-in game against Southeast Missouri State.
Alabama: Made 8 of 11 3s early and 15 of 33 (45.5%) in the game. Got to play in an arena full of crimson-and-white against the big underdogs.