‘Now we’ve done something’: Tide down No

  • Paolo Uggetti, ESPNMar 29, 2024, 12:23 AM ET LOS ANGELES– Alabama coach Nate Oats had been firm with his team. Throughout the very first two rounds of the males’s NCAA competition, the Crimson Tide had beaten groups– Charleston and Grand Canyon– that they were expected to beat. As far as Oats was concerned, getting to the Sugary food 16 did not need to be commemorated.

    “We have not done a thing yet, so let’s not act like we have actually done anything yet,” Oats stated of the message he had actually imparted to his team. “Now, if we can beat [North] Carolina, now we’ve done something.”

    The Tide could celebrate Thursday night.Against the No.

    1 seed in the West area, Alabama did not pull back. Oats’team not just matched the Tar Heels blow for blow but outlived them in a significant 89-87 triumph that offered Alabama its very first Elite Eight berth since 2004, just the second in program history.”We’ve been working for this all season,”said senior forward Grant Nelson, who posted 24 points, 12 rebounds and 5 blocks.”It’s great we got here. It’s something at the school, we haven’t done, just one other time. “Editor’s Picks Leading up to the game, the Crimson Tide had been self-aware enough to understand that their defense was not going to

restrict UNC’s offense to 60 points. This was going to be a high-powered offense taking on another high-powered offense.It’s why Alabama was content to turn the game into a fast-paced affair in which lead changes and scoring runs by

both teams were unavoidable. All that mattered in a contest that was close throughout was who might step up in the end. Performance, not volume, would identify the winner, and Alabama won that fight by shooting 47%from the field and 42%from deep.The journey to the win wasn’t simple. After the Tide cut UNC’s lead to 3 points right before an Alabama timeout with 8:10 remaining in the second half, Oats thought his team was running out of gas, but the Alabama huddle exuded a kind of confidence that informed the coach his group was prepared for the stretch run. “That timeout I thought won the game with the energy in the huddle, “Oats stated.” Things were not working out at that time. Things had actually gone well, and they were trending the wrong instructions. We came out, made a run,

Grant Nelson started, and we took off from there. “Regardless of the collective team effort, Alabama required somebody to step up. Down five points with just over 7 minutes staying, Nelson went to work.The 6-foot-11 senior from North Dakota played like a trashing ball on both ends. Facing off against Armando Bacot, Nelson scored 15 points in the last seven minutes of the game and included 3 crucial blocks on defense over the last 1:39 to seal the triumph. “I didn’t begin this tournament with the best 2 games, “Nelson said. “These guys are saying, head out there, go get a pail. Really, that gives me a lot of confidence, and I give them a great deal of credit. I could not have actually done it without them.

“Oats stated not even he saw this stat line originating from Nelson, despite the fact that he understood the capacity for a breakout game was there. And Alabama got it at the ideal time.”[ Grant] showed up tonight in a big way versus one of the very best bigs in the country,”Oats said.”I believe individuals questioned whether we’re frail, soft. … Grant revealed we’re not. We can choose the big boys.”Even as Oats & Co. basked in the declaration success, the Tide’s coach was thinking of what follows: crafting a strategy for their matchup versus a Clemson group that currently beat them at home earlier this year. “Our word’s been ‘next’ this whole tournament. Next play. Next play,”

Oats said. “I told the guys they can commemorate for thirty minutes. As soon as we get the media out of the locker space, we’re on to Clemson. … We won’t be getting a lot of sleep tonight.”

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