TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (Sporting Alert, Box Score) — Alex Len collected a fine double-double of 15 points and 13 rebounds to go along with five blocks and No. 2 Maryland registered a 58-57 victory over No. 1 Alabama in the NIT Tournament quarterfinals on Tuesday night.
The victory saw the Terrapins (25-12) booking their first NIT Tournament semifinals slot since 2005.
“We’re excited to go to Madison Square Garden,” Len said. “It was just a huge win for our program.”
Dez Wells and Logan Aronhalt both scored 13 points for Maryland in the victory.
“We’ve been talking about trying to get a great road win, and to get a postseason win against a team that I thought should have been in the NCAA tournament was just a great win,” said Maryland coach Mark Turgeon.
Pe’Shon Howard gave the Terrapins some breathing space with a three-pointer, his only score in the game – with 4:47 and then Jake Layman knocked down two more 3s to give Maryland a 57-49 with 3:42 left.
Victory in the NIT looked well in sight for the No. 2 seed until Alabama (23-13) went on a 9-1 run to trim the lead and almost pull off the victory.
“Our defense was just spectacular all night,” said a relief Turgeon.
“We just held on. I don’t like just holding on, but this time of year any win is a great win.”
Levi Randolph led the Crimson Tide with 15 points, while Rodney Cooper had 13 and Trevor Releford 11.
“Our guys never stopped fighting, never quit, I thought gave great effort and gave us a chance at the end,” Alabama coach Anthony Grant said.
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RESULT – March 26
(2) Maryland 58, (1) Alabama 57