For the ninth time in program history, Alabama is going to the Sweet 16. No. 1 seed UA knocked off No. 8 seed Maryland 73-51 in Birmingham on Saturday night in the NCAA Tournament’s Round of 32.

The Crimson Tide and Terrapins played a close 1st half.

“The start of the game wasn’t what we wanted,” Nate Oats said after the game. “I think they hit their first 4 field goals. We hung in there. Our defense picked up from there. They hit 2 out of their next 20 from that. And we outscored them 24-10 and were able to keep the lead and hold them off.”

It was 28-23 Alabama at the half. UA dominated the 2nd half 45-28, pulling away for a lopsided win.

“The second half, we were better,” Oats told the media. “Obviously, a little concerned. (Maryland’s Julian) Reese only played 4 minutes in the first half. And they were plus 6 in those 4 minutes. He played 16 minutes in the second half. But we did a good job.

“I thought Charles (Bediako) did a good job, (Noah) Clowney did a good job. So you know our defense picked up, our offense struggled at times tonight, but I thought (Jahvon) Quinerly, we needed him to make some shots.”

Quinerly was Alabama’s high scorer with 22 points on 9-of-14 shooting from the floor. Brandon Miller, who went scoreless in limited playing time Thursday, had 19 points over 34 minutes in Saturday’s victory.

Oats highlighted some of the team stats that stood out to him.

“We got to the offensive boards, you know, they did too. They had 10. We had 15,” Oats said. “But second chance points were 16-4 us. Give our guys a lot of credit — I just told them, we may not make shots but we have constructed a team, we have a style of play that even when we don’t make shots our defense is good enough, and we get to the O boards, we just can’t turn it over. Second half we only had 3 turnovers. Getting to the O boards and eventually we were able to make some shots, break the game open in the second half.”

Oats recognized Bediako as Alabama’s Hard Hat Winner after the game. Bediako had 10 points and 10 rebounds. The point total could have been higher as he was just 2-of-6 at the free-throw line.

“Charles, I think it’s his fifth double-double of the year. That was big,” Oats said. “Get him to make some free throws, it would be even better. But I thought he was outstanding on the glass and on defense. It was a great game.”

Alabama will face No. 5 seed San Diego State in Louisville on Friday.