John Petty’s hot shooting, Collin Sexton’s second-half explosion carry Alabama to NCAA Tournament win

PITTSBURGH — Alabama basketball needed every second of the 40 minutes to hold off Virginia Tech in their second round game of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday night.

Behind hot shooting from John Petty and Collin Sexton’s second half performance, the Crimson Tide downed Virginia Tech 86-83 on Thursday night in PPG Paints Arena.

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John Petty shows up big

With Collin Sexton struggling in the first half, fellow freshman John Petty picked up some of scoring. Petty made all three of his 3-point attempts. He had 9 points and a couple of nice assists in the first half. Petty knocked down a crucial three to end the half to keep Alabama down only two points at the break.

Petty continued to shoot well in the second half, finishing with 20 points and 6 made threes.

Collin Sexton takes over in second half

Collin Sexton had a quiet first half, scoring just 3 points on 1-4 shooting. Sexton did have 4 assists in the first half. He got in some early foul trouble with his second foul coming on a charge call with 12 minutes left in the first half. Alabama was only down 43-41 at the break despite not getting much offense from Sexton.

Sexton stepped up in the second half when Alabama needed him. He controlled the pace, and made some tough shots around the basket. He also knocked down his free throws down the stretch which was arguably the biggest key to the victory. Sexton finished with 25 points and 6 assists.

Donta Hall starts, plays well

Whether or not Donta Hall would play was the biggest story for Alabama basketball heading into the NCAA Tournament.

Hall hit his head on a scary fall in the second half against Auburn in an SEC Tournament game last Friday in St. Louis. He suffered a concussion and missed the Crimson Tide’s semifinal loss to Kentucky on Saturday.

Hall played and got the start on Thursday night. He looked fine early on, finishing a couple of easy dunks off passes from teammates.

Hall finished the contest with 10 points and 3 rebounds. He made all 5 of his shots.

What’s next for Alabama basketball?

With the win, Alabama advances to play No. 1 Villanova on Saturday inside PPG Paints Arena. The Wildcats defeated No. 16 Radford earlier on Thursday night.

Winning a game in the NCAA Tournament in Year 3 of Avery Johnson’s tenure in Tuscaloosa shows the program is trending upward.

The post John Petty’s hot shooting, Collin Sexton’s second-half explosion carry Alabama to NCAA Tournament win appeared first on SEC Country.

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