PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Mark Sears had 24 points, five rebounds and five assists, and No. 18 Alabama sent top-ranked North Carolina to a second straight loss in the game with a 103-101 win in a four-overtime thriller on Sunday third place in the Phil Knight Invitational tournament.
Jahvon Quinerly added 21 points off the bench for the Crimson Tide (6-1) who defeated the top-ranked team for the first time since beating Stanford in the 2004 NCAA tournament.
“I lost track of how many overtimes we ended up with,” said Crimson Tide coach Nate Oats. “A lot of praise to our boys. I felt they showed a lot of character even though we could have folded.”
Charles Bediako had 14 points, 16 rebounds and three blocks while Brandon Miller also had 14 points.
Caleb Love led the Tar Heels (5-2) with 34 points, nine rebounds, four assists and three steals. Armando Bacot contributed 20 points and 10 rebounds, and RJ Davis had 19 points and nine rebounds in the second four-overtime game in North Carolina history. The other was a win over Tulane in 1976.
“At the end of the day, Alabama played one more game than we did,” said North Carolina coach Hubert Davis. “I went into the dressing room and some of the guys had their heads down and I told them to look up. I’m just as disappointed (as are the players) with the end result but I couldn’t be prouder of the way they competed.”
Bediako put the Crimson Tide ahead with a layup with 26 seconds remaining in fourth overtime.
The Tar Heels, who lost to Iowa State in the semifinals, led by as many as eight points in the second half before Alabama came back to level. The Crimson Tide took the lead with two Gurley free throws with 2 minutes remaining and later equalized with another Sears free throw with 51 seconds remaining on rule.
Alabama forward Noah Clowney fell badly trying to dunk four minutes into the first half and had to be carried off the field. He didn’t come back.
The Crimson Tide were 16 to 38 (42.1%) from 3-point range, with Sears going for seven.
North Carolina: Tar heel count drops sharply in top 25 poll.
Alabama: The Crimson Tide bounced back well after losing to No. 20 UConn in the semifinals, beating a top-ranked team in the regular season for the first time since a 66-64 win over eventual national champions Arkansas on Jan. 8. 1994
North Carolina: The Tar Heels travel to Bloomington on Wednesday to take on No. 11 Indiana.
Alabama: The Crimson Tide returns home Saturday and takes on the state of South Dakota.
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