BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — — Before Alabama took the court, two No. 1 seeds had fallen and a third had to rally from double-digit deficits.
By comparison, the Crimson Tide had a drama-free night.
Jahvon Quinerly scored 22 points, Brandon Miller chipped in with 19 and top-seeded Alabama knocked off Maryland 73-51 after a dominant second half on Saturday.
The second-round upset followed a 21-point blowout of Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in the Tide’s tournament opener.
“I feel like our work isn’t done,” Miller said. “We’re here to win a national championship.”
The Crimson Tide (31-5) advanced to their second Sweet 16 in the last three tournaments and ninth overall. Alabama will face fifth-seeded San Diego State in the South Regional semifinals on Friday in Louisville, Kentucky.
Before the late-night game, Purdue and defending national champion Kansas both lost, and No. 1 seed Houston trailed by 10 points to Tide rival Auburn at halftime earlier at Legacy Arena before pulling away.
“Of course we watched those games and it was crazy,” Quinerly said. “But coach (Nate Oates) didn’t really address the team.
“We all know that anyone can win in March. We just focused on the task at hand.”
Alabama and Miller got off to a slow start, but the freshman All-America and top NBA prospect finished with a more typical performance after going scoreless in the first-round game. Miller was nursing a groin injury and missed his first nine shots of the tournament.
“It seems like the more it goes, the looser it gets,” Oates said. “He didn’t have the same pop. He was 3 of 11 on 2s. Many of them were on edge. His finish was really good. He was definitely not 100%. He’s a tough kid. He plays through some things. He doesn’t let people know he’s hurt.
Quinerly had a big game one year after injuring his left knee early in the second-round loss to Notre Dame, which still limited him early in the season. He shot 4 of 6 3-pointers.
Maryland coach Kevin Willard had offered the New Jersey native a scholarship while at Seton Hall when Quinerly was just a ninth grader.
Charles Bediako had 10 points and 10 rebounds. Alabama’s starters hit the bench with a few minutes remaining to chants of “Sweet 16” among the friendly crowd.
“It was amazing to play in front of our hometown fans to have a chance to go to the Sweet 16,” Oates said.
Julian Rees had 14 points for Maryland (22-13) before fouling out. Jahmir Young scored 12.
Reese scored seven quick points, but picked up his second foul three minutes into the game and played just four minutes in the first half, picking up a quick third.
“His first foul was a foul. But the second was mystery and the third was the game,” Willard said. “You can’t call that second foul in a physical game. It was terrible judgment. Change the game.
“I’ll explain as much as you want. Do you want to cause a little or a lot of trouble? But the second call was a terrible foul. Terrible announcement. It changed our whole game plan. We were going to hit it in, hit it in.
The Tide finished with a 44-32 rebounding advantage.
Alabama had an easy time at the end, unlike the other No. 1 seeds.
No. 16 Fairleigh Dickinson knocked off top-seeded Purdue 63-58 Friday night in just the second such upset. Then No. 8 Arkansas beat the Jayhawks 72-71 earlier Saturday. Houston eventually pulled away from Auburn while the Tide waited for their opportunity.
The first half was more like Maryland – except for a 28-23 deficit – for a team that came in giving up just 63 points per game.
Maryland: The 2002 national champion Terps fell short of their 15th trip to the Sweet 16 in Willard’s first season. They also lost to Alabama in the second round two years ago under former coach Mark Turgeon. Maryland’s defense was good enough to hold the lead for most of the first half, despite a run of nine straight turnovers.
Alabama: It was the biggest win in NCAA Tournament history by a team that shot under 40 percent overall and under 30 percent on three-pointers, according to STATS. … Alabama’s depth has been on display thus far. The Tide controlled the game despite not getting much scoring from starters Mark Sears and Noah Clowney or Nick Pringle, the star in the opener against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.
Alabama faces a San Diego State team that is making its first Sweet 16 appearance since 2004, which was also the year of the Tide’s lone Elite Eight appearance. The Crimson Tide have never reached the Final Four.
“I know San Diego State’s defense is elite,” Oates said.
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