Alabama coach makes passionate argument for his team making NCAA tournament

Kristopher Nichols
March 11, 2018

It does not explain how Alabama, with Sexton, started this tournament as the nine seed with 14 defeats.

Mustapha Heron scored 18 points and Desean Murray scored 15 and grabbed eight rebounds, but Auburn, the tournament's No. 1 seed as regular season champions, fell to Alabama, 81-63.

But Sexton plays for Alabama - and he is guy Kentucky will have to defend if the Wildcats expect to advance to the championship game of the Southeastern Conference Tournament because as the field at the Scottrade Center has narrowed to four teams, Sexton is the leader for the Most Outstanding Player here.

Sexton had 27 points - including a game-winning basket at the buzzer - along with 5 assist and 3 rebounds in the Crimson Tide's 71-70 victory over Texas A&M on Thursday, and 31 points and 7 rebounds in their 81-63 victory over Auburn.

He's a player who refuses to participate in social media, calling it a "waste of time" in a 2017 Players Tribune piece in which he also described his 300-made-jump-shots-a-day work ethic; a competitive fire so hot that he can't play his brother one-on-one without fighting; the way he turned himself from unranked high school player to top-10 national recruit and McDonald's all-American.

"The key is to be able to utilize his ability, and without it taking away from the team aspect".

"I think the only way we can secure our spot is winning the whole thing, honestly", Mobley said. Alabama's Collin Sexton had one thing to say after another fantastic performance: "Don't count us out".

"Once we got stops, Coach told us to just run", Sexton said. "So I'm going to find a way to give it to him, reward him for running". "I say that all the time. Don't worry about missing or anything else".

"I know how good a coach he is", Calipari said. "That's something we've got to go back and look at, try to fix it as much as possible".

With Sexton in the zone, his teammates followed.

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Wenyen Gabriel tied his career high with 23 points (also vs. LSU on February 7, 2017).

"I knew Donta was trailing", Sexton said. John Petty even showed a hint of moving beyond his shooting slump.

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"My entire focus, as I said before the tournament, was on trying to get these kids some wins", Fox said. "We did what we wanted to do in the first half".

"Well, I didn't watch the (Alabama-Auburn) game, and I didn't really see", Calipari said.

So what did Tide Coach Avery Johnson say during his halftime speech? All we can do now is build a resume. We talked about dominating.

Pearl explained himself after the game. Still, Sexton finished with 21 points. Heron led the Tigers with 18 points and Bryce Brown added a quiet 11 points.

Sexton guided Alabama's offense through video-game like plays amid an outlandish 28-3 run to open the second half. We shot it well, which was what we needed to do. "Let's pressure them. Let's do things to get into their legs.' That was probably the biggest reason".

Auburn's shooting struggles continued. Auburn's underwhelming finish may make them susceptible to an upset in the NCAA Tournament, as Pearl acknowledged postgame. Given his blazing quickness driving the ball, a reliable outside shot basically makes him illegal.

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