Brandon Miller and No. 2 Alabama picked up another tight win in a week that has proven challenging on and off the court.
Miller scored 24 points and Mark Sears made 7 of 8 free throws over the final 1:04 to help No. 2 Alabama to an 86-83 victory over Arkansas on Saturday, coming off an overtime victory at South Carolina on Wednesday.
Miller delivered his second straight big game since police alleged in court testimony that Miller brought a gun to former teammate Darius Miles, who is charged with capital murder in a shooting deadly
The week’s details shed a different light on Miller’s usual pregame introduction, which is a Tide staff member giving him a look. That, coach Nate Oats said, is over.
“I think that’s something that’s happened all year,” Oats said to open his postgame press conference. “I don’t see our performances. I’m not involved with them. I’m making plays at the time. Anyway, it’s not appropriate. It’s been dealt with, and I can assure you it definitely won’t happen again. this year”.
Miller received a warmer reception at home than in South Carolina, where he heard shouts of “lock him up” and “guilty” a day after testifying about the gun, which was allegedly used by another man in the fatal shooting of 23 years of life. old Jamea Harris on January 15th.
Miller has not been accused or charged with any crime, nor has he missed any game time. Miller’s attorney said Miller never handled the gun and that it had been left in the back seat. Police also said another Alabama player, guard Jaden Bradley, was at the scene. He started Saturday’s game and did not score.
No players were available and Oats declined to answer questions about the shooting case.
But there was plenty to talk about on the court.
Miller’s fellow freshman Nick Smith Jr. of Arkansas (19-10, 8-8 Southeastern Conference), another potential NBA draft lottery pick who helped keep the Razorbacks with a late triple, also scored 24 points.
Miller helped spark a 15-0 run for Alabama (25-4, 15-1) by scoring six straight and eight points to take a 56-46 lead midway through the second half, just the second lead of the game for the Tide. Arkansas missed eight straight shots and four straight free throws in that span after leading most of the way.
“We really struggled to start the second half,” Razorbacks coach Eric Musselman said. “That was the difference in the game, it was a stretch to start the second half.”
The Razorbacks rallied with 20 points over the final 2:48, and Smith hit a 3 with 10 seconds left to make it 85-83. Rylan Griffen hit the second of two free throws and Ricky Council IV’s potential tying 3-pointer bounced off the rim.
Davonte Davis had 21 points for Arkansas, Council scored 20 and the rest of the team combined for 18 points.
Miller, who scored 41 against South Carolina on Wednesday, missed his first five 3-point attempts as the team went 1 for 20. He finally hit one with three minutes left.
Oats said Miller may be the toughest player mentally he has ever coached.
He said his freshman star “completely understands that the situation is tragic and takes it very seriously,” then added: “He has a special way of staying locked in where he is at the moment, whether it’s training, games or whatever. I was able to do it this week.”
Jahvon Quinerly had 16 points and seven assists for the Tide.
“We don’t win the game if he doesn’t play like he does in the second half,” Oats said. “We have no chance.”
Noah Clowney produced 10 points and 13 rebounds.
Arkansas held Alabama to just three 3s, but the Tide scored 52 points in the paint.
“You two won’t get away,” Musselman said. “You won’t. That’s why they’re ranked second in the country.”
The Razorbacks used a 9-0 run followed by Smith’s baseline jumper with 6 seconds left to take a 37-28 halftime lead. It was the Tide’s lowest-scoring first half since beating No. 1 Houston 31-27 on Dec. 10 before rallying to win.
Arkansas: Once a top-10 team, the Razorbacks couldn’t win a third straight. Arkansas kept it much closer than Alabama’s previous 84-69 win when Smith was out with a knee injury.
Alabama: Dominated the boards in the second half 26-14 after both teams collected 22 rebounds in the first. Made 3 of 22 three-pointers (14%).
A total of 34 representatives from 18 NBA teams were issued credentials for the matchup between Miller and Smith, who are likely the top two prospects in the college ranks.
UNTIL THE NEXT
Arkansas: Visits No. 11 Tennessee on Tuesday night.
Alabama: Hosts in-state rival Auburn on Wednesday night.
Report from The Associated Press.
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