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Alabama Men's Basketball Team Almost Had An Amazing Comeback

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

For University of Alabama fans, rock bottom came at about 6:30 p.m. Eastern on Saturday. The top-ranked Crimson Tide football team had just lost to despised rival Auburn in a nationally televised upset.

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

And then the Alabama basketball team was about to lose, well, almost everyone. We'll explain. Bama was down by seven in the second half of its game against the University of Minnesota. The only really noteworthy thing at that point about the game is that it was being live streamed on Facebook. And then this happened.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER: And we've got fisticuffs, a scuffle underneath and players ready to throw.

SIEGEL: Well, nobody wound up throwing a punch, but the entire Alabama bench stormed onto the court. And according to NCAA rules, any bench player who steps onto the court during a fight can be ejected, which meant this.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER: The entire bench from Alabama has been ejected from this game, and now the five on the court for Alabama are the five who have to go the rest of the way.

MCEVERS: With all their subs out of the game, the pressure was on the five players who were left on the court. But a couple minutes later, one of those five fouled out. And a minute after that, another Alabama player sprained his ankle. That meant the Crimson Tide had to go most of the second half with three players against five.

SIEGEL: The announcers had a hard time wrapping their heads around this idea.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER: Now, you might see this in someone's front yard when you have three high school guys playing against maybe four or five younger children.

MCEVERS: Yet somehow Alabama, who once trailed Minnesota by 19 with five players, cut the lead to three points with a minute left in the game.

SIEGEL: Now, it turns out they only needed one player, freshman guard Collin Sexton. He nearly beat Minnesota by himself, scoring 40 points with crazy drives to the basket and impossible three-point shots over two and even three defenders.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER: Sexton - the rebound. Here he comes. Sexton himself got it. It's a one-possession game.

(CHEERING)

MCEVERS: Sadly Sexton and his two teammates ran out of gas and got no closer. Minnesota won by five and thus ended Alabama's no good, very bad sports day. But even in losing, Bama might have gained a cult hero in Collin Sexton.

(SOUNDBITE OF SAINT MOTEL SONG, "MY TYPE") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.


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