Shackelford, Alabama stroll past Maryland and into Sweet 16

Big Tournament

Alabama’s Herbert Jones (1) Alabama’s Jordan Bruner (2) celebrate a teammate’s score against Maryland during the second half of a college basketball game in the second round of the NCAA tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis Monday, March 22, 2021. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Jaden Shackelford and Alabama stuck with what got them to the NCAA Tournament, torching Maryland with 3-point shooting in a 96-77 second-round rout on Monday night.

Shackelford scored 21 points and made five of Alabama’s 16 3-pointers as the second-seeded Crimson Tide advanced to their first Sweet 16 since 2004. It’s the first regional semifinal for Nate Oats, the second-year coach who made Buffalo a must-watch team before moving up to the Southeastern Conference.

That’s hardly a coaching resume to rival Nick Saban’s, but Oats is building a hoops culture in football-mad Tuscaloosa.

After trailing early, the nation’s top 3-point shooting team quickly heated up to overwhelm the 10th-seeded Terrapins. Alabama next faces 11th-seeded UCLA in the East Region.

Aaron Wiggins scored 27 points and Eric Ayala had 13 for Maryland (17-14), which was seeking its first Sweet 16 appearance since 2015 and 15th overall. The Terps’ loss left Michigan as the only Big Ten team to survive the opening weekend after the conference earned nine NCAA bids.

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