GREENVILLE, South Carolina (Ticker) -- The only thing rolling was the Kent State momentum.
Trevor Huffman scored 20 points and Antonio Gates added 18 as No. 10 Kent State secured a berth in the Sweet 16 by routing second-seeded Alabama, 71-58, in second-round action in the South Region.
Continuing the most successful season in school history, coach Stan Heath's club posted its 20th straight win and advanced to play the winner of Sunday's matchup between Pittsburgh and California.
"It's a good feeling," Huffman said. "It's great for the MAC, for our league. We are representing Ball State and Bowling Green, teams that we felt should have been in." Kent State (29-5) scored six of the first eight points and was never headed.
The Golden Flashes were up 18-8 midway through the first half and led by 12 at the half. If Alabama (17-8) had any designs on a rally, Kent State ended them quickly by opening the second half on a 17-9 run.
"They got off to a good start," Alabama coach Mark Gottfried said. "We missed two 1-and-1s, Mo (Maurice Williams) missed a 3-pointer, Ernest Shelton missed a wide open 3-pointer and they extended it to about eight or 10. At that point, with their veteran guards, it's a difficult night." "I knew they were a good team but I just don't know if they came out with the energy they wanted," Huffman said.
Andrew Mitchell added 11 points for Kent State, which committed just eight turnovers in the contest.
Rod Grizzard led Alabama with 17 points but the Crimson Tide shot just 30 percent (8-of-26) in the first half and never dug out of its early deficit.
With Kent State already up 36-24 at the break, Gates opened the second half with a layup. After Erwin Dudley had a jumper for Alabama, Huffman buried a 3-pointer and jumper around a layup by the Tide's Kenny Walker.
Grizzard's three-point play got Alabama within 43-31 but Gates and Nate Gerwig had baskets 32 seconds apart to push the lead to 16.
The Golden Flashes' lead was 20, 53-33, with 13:12 left. They pushed the advantage to 24 with just over 10 minutes left before Alabama used a 14-4 burst to get within 14.
But the Tide never got closer and failed to match the school record for wins.
"We wanted to play our game, that is play with a lot of intensity and effort," Huffman said.