Alabama and Clemson, mainstays in the College Football Playoff, hit the hardwood Saturday night for a rare March Madness matchup, but the two sides delivered on the intrigue!

The two sides rolled into the Elite 8 with a pair of upsets on Thursday. Clemson made it to Saturday by way of a win over 2-seed Arizona, and Alabama delivered the win over 1-seed North Carolina to set up the ACC vs. SEC showdown.

Early on, the game was dominated by the Tigers with Clemson threatening to run away with things. Then, Alabama flipped a switch and even closed the first half strong enough to carry a lead into halftime.

After the break, it was a back-and-forth affair down the stretch, though the Crimson Tide delivered a big-time shot every time the Tigers tried to cut into the deficit. Now, there is history in Tuscaloosa after Alabama’s 89-82 win over Clemson.

Here are the key takeaways from that victory:

3-point shooting heats up for Tide

Alabama has made its living off the 3-pointer all season long, and it was an area of concern after shooting 26% from range in a second-round win over Grand Canyon. Fortunately, the Crimson Tide quickly rounded back into form with 11 made 3-pointers and finishing 42% from deep against North Carolina.

Against Clemson, Alabama was back to hitting the key 3-point buckets, and it included one particular 3-minute stretch of action in the second half.

With Alabama clinging to a 55-52 lead and over 9 minutes to play, the Tide would connect on 6 straight 3-point attempts. A few in that string came from Mark Sears, including one for the point guard to give Alabama a 68-59 lead with 6:24 to play.

Other players involved in that 3-point barrage included Rylan Griffen and Jarin Stevenson as Alabama finished the win 16-of- 36 (44%) from deep in the win.

History for Alabama

Always known for its football program, Alabama basketball has been to March Madness throughout various stretches of its history. However, the program has undoubtedly been elevated under Nate Oats with the team still looking for its first trip to college basketball’s promised land.

That promised land, of course, is the Final Four, and this season marked Alabama’s first Elite 8 appearance under Oats and the first overall since 2004. This time around, the Tide would make good on the opportunity.

The path to the national title remains incredible steep with a date against No. 1 overall seed UConn. It’s unclear if anyone can beat the Huskies, and Alabama will undoubtedly open as an underdog in the Final Four.

For now, the Tide will enjoy this bit of history for at least a night or two.

Magical Mark Sears

Always the leader and top scorer for Alabama, Sears began Saturday’s game on the wrong side of an 0-for-6 skid from 3-point range. At halftime, he had just 5 points and was 2-for-11 from the field (1-for-7 from deep).

The second half was an entirely different story. All 7 of Sears’ second-half attempts came from 3-point range, and he buried 6 of them for 18 points. He would finish the game on a 7-for-8 run from deep after his disastrous start to the game.

He even stepped up in his traditional closer role, delivering a huge dagger with just over a minute to play and clinging to a 4-point lead:

Sears ended the game with a game-high 23 points to go with 2 assists and 3 rebounds. Every time Alabama needed a shot, Sears delivered to reach the Final Four.