- Alabama’s had seven players ejected for leaving the bench during a scuffle in the Crimson Tide’s game against Minnesota on Saturday.
- After one player fouled out and another injured his ankle, Alabama was left with just three players to finish out the final ten minutes of the game.
- Shockingly, Alabama cut into Minnesota’s lead while playing down two men, but did not have enough in the tank to complete the comeback.
While the Iron Bowl surely captured the attention of most Alabama fans on Saturday night, the Crimson Tide basketball team also played a game that no one will soon forget.
Facing off against Minnesota at the Barclays Center, Alabama first got into trouble when Collin Sexton traded a bit of trash talk to Gophers guard Nate Mason. Both players drew technical fouls, and Mason drew a second when he kept on talking. That prompted his coach Richard Pitino to jump in to defend him, and draw a technical of his own.
After four consecutive free throws for the Crimson Tide, Minnesota’s Dupree McBrayer and Alabama’s Dazon Ingram got into a shoving match that soon entangled most of the players on the court. At this moment, every player on Alabama’s bench took a few steps onto the floor before catching their mistake.
Referees ejected every active player from Alabama’s bench, leaving the Crimson Tide to finish the game with the five players they had on the court at the time of the scuffle. Just a few plays later, Ingram picked up his fifth foul, leaving Alabama a man down with 11 minutes to play, and a minute after that freshman John Petty turned his ankle and had to be helped off the court.
With Minnesota sitting on a nine point lead, Alabama was left with three players – Collin Sexton, Galin Smith and Riley Norris – to carry the team for the final ten minutes of the game.
You can watch a breakdown of how Alabama was forced to play 5-on-3 below.
Shockingly, despite playing two men down for the final stretch, Alabama was able to cut into Minnesota’s lead, at one point trailing by just three points with minutes left in the game. The Crimson Tide packed tight into a 1-2 zone on defence, and played loose on offence, spreading the floor in a way only possible due to all the newly empty space.
Minnesota meanwhile, looked somewhat confused regarding how to both attack and defend with such an advantage, rarely doubling the ball on defence and turning down many open jumpers to feed the ball inside where Alabama could apply pressure.
— Cork Gaines (@CorkGaines) November 26, 2017
In the end, Alabama didn’t have enough in the tank to complete the comeback, falling to Minnesota 89-85, but freshman Collin Sexton did impress in his time as one of the final three men standing for the Tide, scoring 40 points and working to be an absolute nuisance defensively.
Even though the Crimson Tide fell short, it was an inspired effort from Alabama, a game that will be remembered for some time, and likely a mistake that Bama’s bench players will not make again any time soon.
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