The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference
The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference
SEC Tournament - Final - Bridgestone Arena - Nashville, TN

Red-hot Bama rolls to second SEC title in three years

200 days ago
Grace Wesoly | SEC Staff

Nashville, Tenn. --- No. 1 seed Alabama (29-5, 16-2 SEC) earned an explosive 82-63 victory over No. 2 seed Texas A&M (25-9, 15-3 SEC) in the championship game of the SEC Men's Basketball Tournament on Sunday at Bridgestone Arena.

Alabama matched its largest win in an SEC championship game with the 19-point differential while scoring the second-most points in an SEC champ game in program history. The Tide also beche 20th school tame o win the SEC Tournament championship with every win by double digits and the first since Kentucky in 2015.

Brandon Miller recorded his ninth double-double of the season (23 points, 12 rebounds) while becoming the first player with consecutive 20-point, 10-rebound games in an SEC Tournament since Tennessee's Vincent Yarbrough in 2002. Jahvon Quinerly followed right behind with 22 points on 8-of-14 shooting as they each drained four 3-pointers. The duo become the first Alabama teammates to each score 20 points in an SEC Tournament game since Alonzo Gee and Mikhail Torrance against Vanderbilt in 2009.

Charles Bediako also logged a double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds while Noah Clowney scored nine and grabbed 11 boards.

Dexter Dennis led the Aggies' offensive efforts with 14 points and three triples while grabbing five rebounds. Despite his slow start, Wade Taylor IV followed with 13 points. Tyrece Radford scored 12 and Henry Coleman 11 led Texas A&M with nine rebounds.

Within mere moments of the opening tipoff, Sears locked in the first of the Tide's many threes. Quinerly and Dennis exchanged 3-pointers before an 8-0 run put together by Bediako's second-chance dunk and two shots from depth rushed Alabama ahead, 16-7, bringing the electric crowd to their feet numerous times within the first five minutes of play.

Both teams slowed down on offense with 12 of the remaining 20 first-half points coming from the free-throw line.

The Aggies faced a deficit as large as 16 after a 7-0 run by the Tide set up a 31-15 differential with less than five minutes remaining in the half. Texas A&M scored the final points before the halftime buzzer on a hook shot by Julius Marble to bring them within 11, 34-23, at the break.

The Tide controlled the first half with Quinerly spearheading their offensive efforts, hitting three of Alabama's six 3-pointers and scoring 13 on 5-of-8 shooting. As a team, the Tide shot 41% from the field in the first half off 11-of-27 shooting.

The game proved to be a physical matchup as each team collected 10 fouls with three of the Tide's belonging to Miller. Meanwhile, Noah Gurley and Bediako hosted a block party in the first half, denying the Aggies a combined five times. Bediako also grabbed eight boards in the opening half.

By comparison, the Aggies struggled to find their rhythm as they recorded their worst shooting half of the season at 21% from the field (6-of-29) and the program's second-worst shooting half against an SEC opponent in the past 10 seasons.

The Aggies took a new approach in the second half, piling on points in the paint; however, the Tide simply continued to respond with baskets of their own. At the 16:35 mark, Quinerly's fastbreak 3-pointer sent the crowd into a frenzy as he matched his season high for most threes in a game with four.

With multiple contributors, Texas A&M went on a quick 6-0 run to close the gap, 38-47, but Miller drained one from distance as the Alabama fans drowned out any whispers of a comeback with their uproar. Just moments later, the crowd erupted once again as Miller drilled his third three at the midpoint of the second half.

Texas A&M coach Buzz Williams called time to regroup, leading to a jam by Solomon Washington and a three-point play by Taylor IV to bring it within 10 again, 58-48, with just over nine minutes to go.

But back-to-back threes by the Clowney and Miller halted the brief Texas A&M run brought the Bama fans to their feet once again, forcing Williams to call another timeout as the roars filled the arena.

This time, the Texas A&M timeout did nothing to slow Alabama's momentum. Clowney's dunk gave the Tide a 71-50 advantage at the 5:29 mark. The Tide continued on a 20-5 run capped by Miller's flight to the rim for a flush, making it 77-53 to the sounds of an awestruck crowd.

The Crimson Tide rode out the remaining minutes to become the 2023 SEC Men's Basketball Tournament champions.

Up Next

Alabama solidified its case to become the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Texas A&M will await for their seeding and destination in the NCAA Tournament.