Bama Hoops Hype

Three Late Plays Pushed Alabama to Victory in Pittsburgh

Alabama Men's Basketball

In a back-and-forth battle between Alabama and Virginia Tech, it was the 9th-seeded Crimson Tide that found a way to pull out a victory on Thursday night. With a mix of strong shooting, good passing and elite defense, Avery Johnson’s players made the plays that were needed to advance to the second round.

While there were plenty of plays throughout the night that made a difference in this one, we picked out the three down the stretch that were most important in the Tide’s victory. You’ll probably notice a trend to them. If there are any plays you think we missed, add it to the comments or let us know on Twitter.

Situation: Alabama 72, Virginia Tech 70, 2:15 2nd Half

Petty’s final 3-pointer of the game was definitely his biggest. The Hokies had scored six of the last eight points and Alabama was getting desperate for some offense. With time winding down on the shot clock, Virginia Tech’s defensive focus was all on Collin Sexton. Petty moved from the right corner to the wing to find a small amount of space between him and his defender. The pass came a little bit late but it did not matter because Petty was feeling it.

Situation: Alabama 75, Virginia Tech 72, 1:40 2nd Half

At the beginning of this clip, you can see the Tide preparing for an isolation play. Sexton has the ball against a single defender with 11 seconds on the shot clock. As Donta Hall retreats to the opposite corner, all five Virginia Tech plays have their eyes on Sexton. He makes his move to the basket a little earlier than expected which seems to catch the Hokies off guard – only one extra defender comes over to help on Sexton. The defenders recover well and position themselves between Sexton and the basket. However, it takes just one dribble inside the arc and a wide pivot to create just enough space for Alabama’s freshman to get the shot off.

This was the type of shot that showed Collin Sexton is ready for the NBA. With that being said, I am sure he would not mind playing five more collegiate games.

Situation: Alabama 78, Virginia Tech 74, 0:50 2nd Half

This play had everything but it is no surprise that Herbert Jones drawing a charge was key in an Alabama game. The Crimson Tide had just turned the ball over while inbounding in the back court. Virginia Tech’s Justin Robinson had a chance to keep the Hokies in the game and appeared to do so when he banked in a shot with 48 seconds to go in the game. However, the official closest to the play whistled for the offensive foul which was the fifth on Robinson.

Jones feet did not slide from that position until contact was made. You can see the full play in this highlight reel. It is one of the toughest plays to officiate but Tech head coach Buzz Williams was still not happy about it; he received a technical foul and the Crimson Tide were able to put the game out of reach with three free throws. (And yes, as with most block/charge calls, other people were pretty mad about it.)

Caleb Turrentine is the editor for Bama Hoops Hype. You can follow him on Twitter for in-game updates at @BamaHoopsHype.

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