The No. 1 seeded Alabama Crimson Tide defeated the No. 16 Texas A&M Corpus Christi 96-75 to advance into the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The Crimson Tide jumped on the Islanders early and took a 20 point lead into halftime. Head coach Nate Oats unloaded the bench throughout the second half to rest his starters but the reserves didn't let up and never gave the Southland champions a chance.

"It was nice to come out and make some shots. I was happy to see Mark. He's been in the gym working a lot, since the Tennessee weekend and it showed. I thought he came out and shot it really well," said Oats. "Its the fourth straight game that JQ started and we started out with early leads in all of them. Kind of changed the narrative of that. We were up nine zip in this game, I think. If you combine our total starts its 48-18 these last four games, so, it's nicer to play with a lead in the beginning."

Alabama, known for its fast paced offense and gritty defense, started its NCAA Tournament on fire, making 15-of-33 3-pointers and converting at 47% from the floor.

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Remarkably, the Tide rolled to victory without AP All-American Brandon Miller scoring a single point. Miller, slowed by a groin injury, hauled in five rebounds and had three assists and a block.

Offensively the Tide was led by Mark Sears with 15 points. The Muscle Shoals native made three 3-pointers and was a perfect 4-for-4 from the free throw line.

Alabama will take on No. 8 seed Maryland on Saturday in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The game will be held in Birmingham and the winner will advance to Louisville for the Sweet 16.

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