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Avery Johnson and his Crimson Tide survived Thursday and their NCAA hopes remain intact.

The 3-pointer: Collin Sexton saves Alabama, buzzer-beater sets up quarterfinal date vs. Auburn

Matt Speakman

The University of Alabama’s basketball team earned a much-needed win against Texas A&M in the second round of the SEC Tournament, 71-70. The Crimson Tide, a No. 9 seed, got revenge against the No. 8 seed Aggies just five days after losing to them in the regular season finale.

Freshman guard Collin Sexton hit a buzzer-beater on a floater to give Alabama an all-important resume win. Sexton finished with a game-high 27 points. It came just seconds after Texas A&M guard T.J Starks hit a three-pointer to put Texas A&M up by 1.

Alabama advances to face Auburn in the quarterfinals of the tournament on Friday at 1 p.m. ET on SEC Network. The win snapped a five-game losing streak.

Alabama’s NCAA Tournament hopes look a little brighter after taking down the Aggies. Entering the game, ESPN Bracketologist Joe Lundardi, who had Alabama in his “last four out,” described this as a must-win for the Crimson Tide.

Along with Sexton, guard Dazon Ingram added 13 points and forward Donta Hall scored 11 points. For Texas A&M, guard T.J. Starks tallied 23 points and Admon Gilder had 15 points.

Alabama finished with 14 turnovers, but forced the Aggies to commit 17 turnovers.

Freshman guards battle

Sexton and Starks came into today with a newfound rivalry after the two got in an altercation in the last meet up. Sexton and Starks did not disappoint in the SEC Tournament. The the two combined for 50 points and made the last two shots of the game.

Starks put his team in a good position to win with a late three-pointer, but Sexton ultimately was one play better.

Alabama goes inside

Alabama brought a patient approach and focused on getting baskets on the inside. The team finished with 36 points in the paint, despite being out-rebounded for the fifth time in six games. Alabama only shot 13 threes in the game, and 59 of its 71 points came from inside the arc.

Forward Donta Hall got involved again and shot 4-of-9 from the field. Alabama coach Avery Johnson said the team needed to get Hall the ball more and against Texas A&M, it did.

Everyone else shows up

Collin Sexton can’t do it all by himself. That’s been displayed down the stretch for Alabama. Against Texas A&M, his supporting cast stepped up. Four players for Alabama had more than five points. Ingram and Hall scored in double-figures.

Alabama needed everything it could get from the players around Sexton. The other player’s ability to move the ball and give him options proved to be a big fact in the win. Still, Sexton showed why he is considered one of the best players in the country.

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