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No. 18 Alabama fends off No. 12 Michigan St. in Knight tourney

Nov 24, 2022; Portland, Oregon, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide guard Nimari Burnett (25) and Michigan State Spartans guard Jason Whitens (43) race after the basketball during the first half at Moda Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

Freshman Brandon Miller powered his way to 24 points and nine rebounds as No. 18 Alabama defeated No. 12 Michigan State 81-70 in the quarterfinals of the Phil Knight Invitational at Portland, Ore., on Thursday night.

Noah Gurley had 12 points and Noah Clowney contributed 10 points, six rebounds and three assists for Alabama (5-0). Jahvon Quinerly also scored 10 points for the Crimson Tide, who will play No. 20 UConn in the semifinals. The Huskies defeated Oregon 83-59 in the opening round.

Tyson Walker led the Spartans (3-2) with 21 points and A.J. Hoggard tossed in 18. Joey Hauser added nine points but also committed five turnovers.

Michigan State forward Malik Hall missed the game due to a stress reaction in his left foot.

Miller scored 17 first-half points as the Crimson Tide led 42-37 at the break. Walker’s 11 points topped Michigan State, which missed all eight of its 3-point attempts in the half.

The Spartans took their biggest lead of the half at 28-21 when Jaxon Kohler made a putback.

Miller soon had a personal 6-0 spurt to give Alabama a 31-30 edge. He also fired in a 3-pointer in the final second of the half.
Miller had a layup and a 3-pointer in the first three minutes of the second half to increase the Crimson Tide’s lead to nine, 50-41.

A three-point play by Quinerly pushed Alabama’s lead to double digits at 57-46 with 14:18 left in the game. Jaden Bradley stole an errant Hauser pass and converted a layup to make it 62-49 less than three minutes later.

Quinerly’s layup and Nimari Burnett’s 3-pointer capped a 10-0 run that gave Alabama an 18-point lead at 67-49.
Walker then went on a personal 7-0 run to pull the Spartans within 11.

Hoggard scored in the lane to cut the deficit to single digits, but Miller then put back his own miss. Charles Bediako followed with a layup and the lead was back up to 13.

Hoggard made a 3-pointer with 1:41 left, cutting Alabama’s lead to eight, but the Spartans couldn’t get any closer.

–Field Level Media