Alabama senior guard Mark Sears hoists the NCAA West Regional Championship trophy after the Crimson Tide defeated the Clemson Tigers in the 2024 NCAA Tournament (Amanda Scurlock/L.A. Sentinel)

A strong offensive effort allowed the Alabama Crimson Tide to advance to the Final Four with an 89-82 victory over the Clemson Tigers. The squad is entering the Final Four for the first time in program history.

“Being from Alabama, the state of Alabama and to do it with this group of guys, it’s amazing,” said Crimson Tide senior guard Mark Sears.

Alabama was 16-36 in three-point shots in the matchup, head coach Nate Oats noted how the team made effective shots.

“Here’s the thing people don’t understand: We’re not trying to shoot 50 threes, we’re trying to take the most efficient shots we can,” Oats said. “They’re taking tough shots and happen to be making them.”

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Sears led the Roll Tide with 23 points, Nick Pringle made 11 rebounds. Clemson grad student guard Joseph Girard III scored 19 points and junior forward Ian Schieffelin made 11 rebounds.

The Roll Tide found their stride from the perimeter late in the first half with freshman forward Jarin Stevenson leading the team off the bench with 10 points.

“I kept telling him throughout the game—I think he passed up one three that I threw him—and I said just shoot the ball, be confident, you’re built for this, you put the work in,” said grad student guard Aaron Estrada.

The three-pointers came in handy as Alabama was facing a 13-point deficit with 7:54 left in the first half. In their victory over the UNC Tar Heels, Oats talked about one of their mantras being “next play” for the tournament. Another word the Crimson Tide had been using is “Mudita,” a concept of having vicarious joy.

“I credit our coaches and the whole Mudita thing and next-play mentality,” grad student guard Aaron Estrada said. “That was the best thing that probably happened to our team because when you hit adversity in the game, it’s easy to fold.”

Senior forward Nick Pringle celebrates after cutting a piece of the basketball net (Amanda Scurlock/L.A. Sentinel)

By the half, Alabama was 6-21 from downtown while Clemson was 1-9.

“They hit big shots, they really spread us out,” said senior center PJ Hall. “If we can get a couple of those to bounce out it’s a different ball game at that time.”

The Roll Tide went on a 9-2 run and their three-point percentage ballooned from 28.6 percent at the half to 42.4 percent by the 6:12 mark in the second half.

Tigers head coach Brad Brownell noted how his team had several qualities but struggled to stay in front of Alabama.

“We’re big, we’re physical, we’re tough, we’re smart but we’re not very fast,” Brownell said. “In the second half it was a problem for us.”

Clemson guard Joseph Girard III contested the Roll Tide with long-ranged shots, putting the game into a three-pointer windfall.

“[Girard III] was unbelievable to have. His swagger is why we went and got him,” Brownell said. “His second-half shooting is the reason we got him but the real reason is the kind of kid he is. He just showed who he is right here.”

Stevenson ultimately scored a career-high 19 points, Pringle dished out 16 points, and sophomore guard Rylan Griffen made 13 points.

Alabama is also the only school to reach the College Football Playoff and Men’s Final Four this season. Oats noted how he had been in contact with retired coach Nick Saban.

“I love the fact he’s willing to talk to me, he talked to me before this run, texted me during the run,” Oats said. “I love the fact that we’re a football school and we’re going to try to add another sport to the championship school level because I think we’re knocking on the door.”

The Crimson Tide will battle UConn in the Final Four at State Farm Stadium in Arizona on April 6 at 5:49P.M.