In a crazy game played in the Barclays Arena in Brooklyn, the 25th ranked Alabama Crimson Tide basketball team lost to the 14th ranked Minnesota Golden Gophers by a score of 89-85. ‘Bama dropped to 5-1 on the season. UM won the Barclays Classic with the victory. The game added to the growing legend of ”The Young Bull”, Collin Sexton.
The Tide played the last 7:44 with only three players and outscored the Gophers 30-22 over that stretch. A chippy game got out of control right in front of the Alabama bench and the entire ‘Bama team rushed the court. When order was restored Donta Hall, Daniel Giddens, Herbert Jones, Alex Reese, Lawson Schaffer, Landon Fuller, and Avery Johnson, Jr. were all ejected from the game. At that point there was 12 minutes left in the game.
That left the five players on the court, John Petty, Dazon Ingram, Galin Smith, Riley Norris, and Sexton to deal with the Gophers alone. However, with 11:37 remaining Ingram drew his fifth foul and was sent to the bench, leaving the Tide with four players on the court. Things got worse with 7:44 left when Petty went up for a shot and came down on a defender’s foot, turning his ankle. Petty left the court in visible pain, thus leaving only three players on the court for the Tide.
Coach Avery Johnson installed a 1-2 zone defense, with Sexton out front and Norris and Smith down low. Sexton was all over the court, making steals, getting rebounds, driving into the lane scoring over three guys and hitting step back jumpers while being double teamed. The sensational freshman scored 31 of his 40 points in the second half. Fans in the building, if they weren’t Minnesota fans, took the Crimson Tide, and especially Sexton, under their wing and cheered hard for the team down the stretch. Remarkably, ‘Bama cut the lead to three with about 1:30 left in the game, but couldn't quite get over the hump.
The Tide was down 41-29 at the half after being out-shot, out-rebounded, and generally just outplayed. Sexton had nine points at the half, and Hall had six. For the game, Alabama was 27-58 for 47% from the field, including 7-18 (39%) from three point range and an improved 23-32 (72%) from the free throw line. Minnesota shot 30-66 (45%) with 8-19 (42%) from deep and 21-27 (78%) from the free throw stripe. UM won the rebounding battle 40-36.
Sexton ended up 12-22 from the field, 4-7 from behind the arc, and 12-16 from the free throw line in 36 minutes of action. For good measure he threw in six rebounds and five assists. Norris and Smith were the only others in double figures, with 13 and 10, respectively. Smith led the team with eight rebounds. Hall was limited to 15 minutes and had eight points and seven rebounds. Sexton’s 40 point game was the first for a Tide player since Reggie “Mule” King scored 43 against UVa on December 29th, 1978.
Although the game was a loss, the team showed a ton of heart, and Sexton showed just how special he is. Alabama fans need to enjoy the next four months, because Sexton is NBA lottery bound. Minnesota coach Richard Pitino, said “Sexton is special, he can beat a lot of teams one on five.”
The Tide takes the hardwood again on Wednesday, November 29th at 7 p.m., as they host Louisiana Tech. The game will be shown on the SEC Network.
Buckle Up and Roll Tide