Alabama finishes game with three players in loss to Minnesota

In News by Blake Lovell

Minnesota jumped out to a big advantage in the first half and held on for a 89-84 victory over Alabama, but the game featured one of the craziest sequences ever in college basketball.

After Minnesota’s Nate Mason was ejected, a large scuffle broke out on the court that resulted in Crimson Tide players leaving the bench.

By rule, any player that leaves the bench during a potential situation on the court, is ejected.

That led to every player on Alabama’s bench being ejected, with the Tide being forced to play on with five players.

And then it got worse. Dazon Ingram fouled out with 11:37 left in the game to take Alabama down to four. Then freshman John Petty suffered what appeared to be a pretty significant ankle injury.

So, yes, that left Avery Johnson with just three players on the court: Collin Sexton, Riley Norris, and Galen Smith.

But despite playing the final 10:41 with those three, Alabama outscored Minnesota 30-22 the rest of the way.

Even better? After the Golden Gophers took a 15-point lead with 6:37 to go, Sexton and company went on a 16-4 run in less than five minutes to make it a three-point game.

Sexton finished with 40 points for the Tide.

Lovell’s Analysis

I mean how do you even describe something like this?

It was undoubtedly one of the most unique finishes to a basketball game that we’ve ever seen, and the craziest thing about it all was that Alabama legitimately had a chance to win the game.

While I highly doubt that Minnesota head coach Richard Pitino spent time at practice going over possible 3-on-5 scenarios, it does make you scratch your head as to how the Tide kept it that close.

But then again, as we’ve already seen this season, Sexton is a different animal.

He’s already proving that he’s a future star at the NBA level, and his performance down the stretch in this game was one that Alabama fans will never forget.

Of course, the biggest concern from all this wackiness wasn’t in how the Crimson Tide played (although it wasn’t pretty at times in the first half). The bigger concern is Petty’s injury.

Just like Sexton, Petty is going to be crucial to this team’s long-term success due to his ability to shoot the ball. If he’s out for an extended period of time, that will take away a pivotal piece in this offense.

However, for now, at least Alabama fans can feel good about the fact that Sexton, Norris, and Smith nearly mounted a comeback against a Top 15 team that had all five players on the court.

That’s as wild as it gets.

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Blake Lovell is the founder of Southeast Hoops. He hosts the Marching to Madness podcast, which features interviews with coaches around the country. He also hosts a weekly college basketball show on WNSR 560AM/95.9 FM in Nashville. His work has been featured in The New York Times, Athlon Sports, Rivals, FanRag Sports, and many more.