Photo by Hannah Saad from The Crimson White

By Austin Hannon

For the first time since 2004, the Alabama Crimson Tide men’s basketball team is headed to the Sweet 16 with their impressive 96-77 victory over Maryland Sunday night.

Monday marked the return of freshman Josh Primo, who had been sidelined the past few games from a knee injury. When he came in after the first media timeout, he made an impact early with a three-pointer and finished the game with 10 points.

Maryland went up seven points early, but like normal, the Crimson Tide began raining in threes from all over the floor, finishing with 16 deep-balls on only 33 attempts.

After struggling early in the game once again, John Petty was able to find his stroke, finishing with 20 points in 32 minutes played. Jaden Shackleford quietly scored another 21, and Alex Reese performed extremely well again, adding 13 of his own. Jahvon Quinerly made history for the Crimson Tide, tallying 11 assists, which is now the second most in Alabama history in a NCAA Tournament game.

The most surprising stat came in the rebounding column, which Alabama won 40-19 over the Terrapins.

Coach Nate Oats was ecstatic for his team, saying, “Really happy for our guys. It’s been a long time since they’ve played in the Sweet 16 here. These guys have really bought into playing the right way. I think defensively, they’ve been one of the top five teams in the country all year, but the offense was bound to come. I just told them after the first game, ‘Let’s just lose ourselves in the game, lose ourselves in the blue-collar stuff and the defensive stuff.”

Alabama advances to the Sweet 16, where they will face off with the UCLA Bruins on Sunday night at 6:15 on TBS. With a win, the Tide will advance to just its second Elite Eight appearance in program history, with a matchup against either one-seeded Michigan or four-seeded Florida State.