Alabama pulls away late for win over Virginia Tech

Alabama pulls away late for win over Virginia Tech

The Virginia Tech Hokies are in the big dance for back to back seasons for the first time since 1985-86.

Ninth-seeded Alabama defeated the eighth-seeded Hokies 86-83 in a first-round NCAA Tournament game in front of 18,715 spectators at PPG Paints Arena. However, the Crimson Tide got the last shot of the half and made it pay off with a Petty 3-pointer off a Sexton assist, making it 43-41 at intermission.

For Alabama, Collin Sexton scored 25 points in the winning effort.

This Saturday, the No. 1 Villanova Wildcats will take on the No. 9 Alabama Crimson Tide in a second round matchup of the NCAA Tournament.

But after finishing the first half 17 of 25, Alabama's defense held Virginia Tech (21-12) just 2 of 9 from 3 in the second half as the Hokies finished 30 of 54 for the game. So Villanova has now shot at least 50 percent from the floor in five of its last nine games. The Tide later ripped off a string of four straight SEC wins and another where they won three of four, before dropping the final five games of the regular season. After Virginia Tech cut the lead to a two possession game, 78-74, with a minute left, freshman Herbert Jones induced a charge, which gave the Tide the ball back with 48 seconds to go.

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Alabama is hot with freshman Collin Sexton leading the way, but Villanova is just a class above, talented and battle-tested.

(San Antonio) - Keenan Evans scored 23 points to will his team to a 70-60 opening round win over Stephen F. Austin on Thursday.

While most of the attention will be on Sexton and Robinson, keep an eye on Bibbs as a guy who could go off and have a big game in pursuit of his first NCAA Tournament victory. Virginia Tech led 15-12 after less than five minutes on a 3-pointer by Alexander-Walker, one of seven 3-pointers the Hokies hit in the half. If not, they could help Alabama a little when attacking the rim and make them more comfortable with fouling to prevent a basket.

He especially also likes the way Wilson - "an elite level leader", Williams said - has impacted the Hokies on the defensive end. Robinson fouled out on the play, and Virginia Tech's bench picked up a technical foul. The college basketball odds for the game have the Hokies favored to pick up the victory. But the eighth-seeded Badgers beat the ninth-seeded Hokies 84-74 past year. It will undoubtedly be the Tide's toughest test this season as the 2016 national champions from nearby Villanova, Pennsylvania are once again considered one of the favorites to win it all. Alabama obviously needs Sexton to score, but it's more important that he's aggressively trying to get inside and take shots around the rim. Only two days after the loss to the Seminoles, though, Virginia Tech came right back and beat North Carolina by 11. In 2015, top-seeded Villanova was knocked off by No. 8 NC State 71-68. "If you get going up and down, then your team is taking shots you don't normally shoot".

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