Alabama kept its NCAA Tournament hopes alive with a thrilling last-second win over Texas A&M on Thursday. Although Texas A&M was defeated, TJ Starks fought to keep his team in the game with 23 points, shooting 47.1% from the field (making 8 of 17 attempts). Alabama star freshman Collin Sexton took over the game, scoring 21 of his 31 points in the final 20 minutes. He did so just moments after T.J. Starks hit a three-pointer to put the Aggies up 70-69 with 4.4 seconds remaining, taking the inbounds pass following a timeout and racing up the court for the game victor.
Sexton then took the ball the length of the court for a game-winning buzzer-beating finger roll.
Alabama plays at noon Saturday against the the victor of today's Kentucky-Georgia matchup. Though not against Sexton, Starks picked up his second foul with 8:46 remaining in the half, and was subbed out for the duration of the half. At the other end, A&M blocked nine shots with Robert Williams swatting seven.
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"We called timeout to get organized", Texas A&M coach Billy Kennedy said. Mississippi State (22-10), which faces Tennessee in today's third quarterfinal, shot 9 of 12 from three in the first half and finished the game 10 for 17. The Aggies trailed the Crimson Tide 35-28 at the half.
Leading by seven points with 34 seconds left, the Bulldogs allowed the Tigers to hit two consecutive 3s to close to 78-77. "The third and fourth games, that's when sometimes the fatigue can be an issue".
"They came down and flipped the table on us really quickly", Pearl said.
Three games between Auburn and Alabama may not have been enough for the world considering the bad blood between the two programs. "Second half, they definitely hit us in the mouth first, and I think that always hurts".
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If you missed it, Pearl bumped into an Alabama assistant after the game and proceeded to exchange words with him. The Crimson Tide outshot the Aggies 48 percent to 39 percent which ultimately proved to be the difference in the game.
Selection Sunday isn't here yet, but March Madness is already in full swing.
For Auburn, a victory against the Tide probably won't improve their tournament seeding.
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