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Alabama Defeats Virginia Tech In The First Round — March Madness

Alabama Defeats Virginia Tech In The First Round — March Madness

John Petty scored 20 points and hit a late 3-pointer that helped clinch No. 9 seed Alabama's 86-83 win over Virginia Tech in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday night.

"In the second half, it just turned downhill too much", said Virginia Tech Coach Buzz Williams of Sexton and the offense of the Crimson Tide, who were the first team to score more than 84 points on the Hokies since early February. Hall missed the semifinal loss to Kentucky on Saturday, but Johnson says the 6-10 junior is in concussion protocol and he's optimistic he'll have the team's second-leading scorer (10.9 points per game) and top rebounder (6.8) and shot-blocker (2.1) against the Hokies.

Robinson scored 19 points and Justin Bibbs had 17 points for the Hokies (21-12).

A whirlwind week finally caught up with the Bonnies (26-8), who finished at 35 percent shooting but were in the 20s when the outcome was in doubt.

Thanks to strong performances by Mikal Bridges (23 points on 5-of-8 shooting from 3-point range) and Donte DiVincenzo (18 points on 5-of-11 shooting from 3-point range) from beyond the arc, Villanova had little trouble getting by Alabama, as they continue to make a strong case about being one of the favorites to win the entire tournament.

Villanova, the No. 1 seed in the East Region, had their way with Collin Sexton and Co. this afternoon. Evans' layup with 3:58 left put the Big 12 runner-up Red Raiders (25-9) ahead to stay.

The game was great; it featured 10 lead changes, 10 ties and 169 points.

Second-seeded Duke will face a risky and veteran Rhode Island team, while Kentucky takes on 13th-seeded Buffalo - which blew out Arizona on Thursday.

The Wildcats also made 14 of their 16 free-throw attempts, as opposed to Alabama making 14 of 23.

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Defensively, Buffalo neutralized Arizona's size inside by collapsing on the paint, forcing the Wildcats to shoot from the perimeter. "We couldn't guard them from 3".

Unfortunately, the Hokies haven't won a game in the NCAA Tournament since 2007, when they were a 5 seed and beat IL in Columbus, Ohio.

Schofield is only 6-5, but he rebounds like a 7-footer. They'll next play Loyola-Chicago on Saturday.

Kevin Knox scored 25 for Kentucky, which next plays the Arizona-Buffalo victor. He finished 7-of-14 from the field and 10-of-14 from the free-throw line, adding six assists.

Freshman Nickeil Alexander-Walker scored 15 in his first NCAA tournament game, and Wabissa Bede scored nine in his NCAA debut.

Ingram's long shot came from well above the key. Villanova had to go deep into the shot clock on most possessions. A desperation pass by Miami (22-10) bounced away harmlessly.

Bridges opened the second half with an emphatic dunk and later hit three consecutive three-pointers in under a minute as the Wildcats forged a 50-28 lead with 15:30 remaining. He hit a championship clinching shot, for the Spurs against the Knicks in 1999 and coached the Mavericks and the Nets - all because he always managed to make someone believe he had his own "it" factor.

It wasn't completely useless, though, this St. Patrick's Day sobering of Alabama's young basketball team in the NCAA Tournament's Round of 32.