No. 2 Alabama falls to No. 24 Texas A&M as Brandon Miller hears boos, heckling from fans
Even with off-court controversy, the Alabama No. 2 managed to keep winning games.
Having just won the SEC regular season title on Wednesday night, the Crimson Tide traveled to College Station and fell 67-61 to No. 24 Texas A&M on a four-game winning streak.
Alabama was one of the best teams in the country but has been walking a tightrope on the court ever since it was revealed in the Tuscaloosa courtroom that Brandon Miller, the team’s star freshman and likely NBA lottery pick, was at the scene of a murder involving a former teammate team. Darius Miles and another man. His fellow student Jayden Bradley was also reportedly at the scene, but police revealed that Miller was transporting a gun that belonged to Miles, which was fatally shot.
For two weeks afterwards, Miller continued to play, and the university said he was a cooperating witness and not a suspect in the case. Before Saturday, the Tide took down South Carolina (by two in overtime), Arkansas (by three) and Auburn (by five in overtime).
Alabama overcame the deficit by winning all three games and fell behind again early Saturday. Texas A&M led with 15 players in the first half and then held the lead for most of the second half, but Alabama was back again.
A layup from Miller tied the score at 47-47 with 8:28 to play. The Tide even took a 54-51 lead thanks to Yahwon Quinerley’s three-pointer at 4:46 in the second half, but that ended up being Alabama’s only advantage.
With Wade Taylor IV (28 points) and Tyrese Bradford (21 points) in the lead, Texas A&M regained the lead in the closing minutes and never conceded it in an eventual six-point victory. The Aggies (23-8, 15-3 SEC) have won eight of their last nine and have a perfect 9-0 record at home in SEC play.
Miller, the SEC’s leading scorer, was leading again in Alabama but struggled with the field. Miller had 19 points but only made 7 of 23 shots and 2 of 12 from long range before fouling with 1:59 left.
As with Alabama’s February 22 trip to South Carolina—the team’s first game following the courtroom revelations—Miller greeted the Texas A&M crowd with boos every time he touched the ball. A&M fans also chanted “lock him up” and “guilty” as Miller hit free throws.
Miller wasn’t the only Alabama player to struggle with the game. Overall, Tide fired just 33.8% and landed only 7 of 36 attempts from behind the arc.
Losing en route to an up-and-coming team like Texas A&M doesn’t in itself necessarily cause concern for Alabama, which will almost certainly be one of the NCAA Tournament’s No. 1 seeds. But slow starts in recent games, coupled with an underwhelming performance on Saturday and a protracted situation with Miller, are not the most encouraging signs that a national championship-seeking team is heading into postseason play.