Wildcats Defeat Alabama 81-58, Advance to NCAA Sweet 16


Petty drained six 3-pointers - his most in two months - and Sexton added 22 of his game-high 25 points in the second half to power the No. 9-seed Crimson Tide over No. 8 seed Virginia Tech, 86-83, Thursday night at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh.

Have to eat some crow on the Tide (20-15) as we projected them to lose 78-75 to Virginia Tech in Round 1. Coach Jay Wright used to have a bit of a monkey on his back with all those early exits, but that went away with the title two years ago.

It fell under a pile of 3-pointers from one of the nation's best teams.

Petty finished with 20 points on 6 of 8 from 3-point range, while Sexton continued his strong postseason play with his 15th-straight double-digit scoring effort.

"Getting here is incredibly hard and we're very thankful for that and we are striving to continue to get better", Williams said. 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.

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This was all but certainly Sexton's last game in an Alabama jersey as he appears destined to become a lottery pick in this year's NBA Draft. "You saw, you know, A.J. Jr. make some plays".

Buckeye facts: OSU also fended off a pesky mid-major in the first round, but in the process, its difficulties defending the 3-pointer were exposed with South Dakota State knocking down 13.

Allerik Freeman hit six 3-pointers and had 36 points to lead No. 9 seed North Carolina State (21-12).

Undoubtedly, the Alabama basketball team is about to face its toughest matchup of the season.

In his final game wearing orange and maroon threads, senior Justin Bibbs scored 17 points, while fellow senior and Pittsburgh native Devin Wilson was held scoreless in his last game. "We'll miss their leadership". They have completely changed this team and I'm so thankful that they made a decision to come to Tech and commit to Buzz and his system through their entire career.

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They may be rookies, but the freshmen are expected to be ready when called upon, and Gillespie, Omari Spellman, Dahmir "Dada" Cosby-Roundtree and Jermaine Samuels answered the bell for the Wildcats (31-4) in their first appearance in the NCAA tournament. Villanova shot 59.6% from the field and 51.9% (14-27) from beyond the arc while holding Radford to just 33.9% shooting from the field.

But coach Buzz Williams believes the program is heading in the right direction. When he was asked the other day how he looked at the latter experience, he said, "I don't look at that experience at all". I think it strikes midnight for the ramblers. Bama made 1/2 free throws, got the ball back, and was up five, not even mentioning that the charge was Justin Robinson's fifth foul of the ballgame.

From there on out, Tech was facing an uphill battle.

Coming off of a night where No. 16 seed UMBC pulled off one of the biggest upsets in NCAA history by knocking out No. 1 Virginia, the pressure was on for No. 1 Villanova and No. 2 Duke to advance - and both teams were able to do that with blow out wins in Saturday's second round.

"We don't get nervous because nothing changes for us", said Spellman, who broke Ed Pinckney's record for rebounds in a season by a freshman.

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