UNC-Alabama College Basketball Game: Who Won? end result


North Carolina guard RJ Davis (4) fouls Alabama guard Jahvon Quinerly during the first half of an NCAA collegiate basketball game at the Phil Knight Invitational on Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022, in Portland, Ore. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer).


Alabama coach Nate Oats said Friday after both the Crimson Tide and North Carolina lost games in the Phil Knight Invitational that Sunday’s matchup would be as close to a must-win game as it was in November could be. And this is how it played out.

It was physical. It was intense. It couldn’t even be regulated in the regulation.

Or in the first overtime.

Or in the second.

Or even the third.

The game had 15 A tie and 14 lead changes before the No. 18 Crimson Tide finally scraped together just enough games in fourth overtime to emerge as a 103-101 winner. Carolina left her locker room at Veterans Memorial Stadium more exhausted from a 60-minute game than disheartened by a second straight loss that cemented her fall from 1st place.

“I know we left this tournament 2-1, but why should I be discouraged by how we played?” said UNC coach Hubert Davis. “It would be negligent on my part to walk away thinking this is a disappointment.”

The Tar Heels (5-2) played their last two overtime games, with forward Armando Bacot only appearing on the pitch for 31 seconds. Bacot injured his right ankle while rebounding for a putback in the second overtime and went out 1:54 left.

North Carolina forward Armando Bacot (5) fouls Alabama center Charles Bediako (14) on a drive to the basket during the first half of an NCAA collegiate basketball game at the Phil Knight Invitational on Sunday, November 27, 2022, in Portland , Oregon (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer) Rick Bowmer AP

“I thought I had a really good rhythm and I thought I was going,” said Bacot, who finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds. “Then all the time I was just fighting out there, just trying to stay inside and help our team win. But towards the end my ankle stiffened even more and I just couldn’t move anymore.”

Pete Nance, who replaced Bacot and played all overtime with four fouls, was an example of why Davis was encouraged by how many players made big contributions at key moments. It was Nance who was knocked out against Bama guard Jahvon Quinerly, blocking his shot to force a third overtime.

While Nance dealt with foul troubles, Puff Johnson filled his gap in the lineup and recorded a career-high 48 minutes. Johnson had 10 points and five rebounds.

“Everyone who went into the game put on an impressive game,” said Davis, which included Will Shaver, who got into trouble his first season of the season with Bacot and Nance and made half at the end of the first two free throws.

The Heels failed to make a final impactful play.

Angry exit

Alabama finally took the lead with a layup by Charles Bediako, and the 7-foot center once again focused on defense.

Guard Caleb Love, who finished with a career-high 34 points, was about to respond with a drive and a floater for Carolina when Bediako blocked. The shot was ruled a goalkeeper, giving the Heels a temporary lead with 9.3 seconds remaining. Officers tipped the basket over while checking and alternating possession returned the ball to the tide.

UNC freshman Seth Trimble came on, presumably to foul Alabama and send it to the free-throw line. But his defense against Mark Sears during the inbound pass forced a turnover when he dived and the ball touched Sears last.

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North Carolina forward Leaky Black, left, defends against Alabama guard Mark Sears (1) during the first half of an NCAA collegiate basketball game at the Phil Knight Invitational on Sunday, November 27, 2022, in Portland, Oregon (AP Photo/ Rick Bowmer) Rick Bowmer AP

Carolina had to run into the corner of the baseline from a tricky angle, and Nance threw the ball away with no time-out left.

“The coach worked out a play and I thought the first three options were pretty much covered,” Nance said. “And I saw that Leaky (Black) had a smaller guy on him and I tried to pick him up for him. I thought the guy pushed him out of the way a bit, but that’s a bad move on my part.”

The Heels had one last shot at a tie or a win after Jaden Bradley grabbed a free throw, but RJ Davis’ 3-pointer on the buzzer was nowhere near.

It was only the second four overtime game in Carolina history, the previous one won on November 27, 1976 in Tulane.

Carolina opened the third overtime and grabbed a six-point lead with her first three possessions. Bama cut to 96-94 with a 3-pointer from Brandon Miller and the Heels missed shots on their next three possessions, allowing Tide to equalize with two free throws from Quinerly with 28 seconds left. With a chance to put one last shot ahead, Nance’s jump pass across the court was too long for Love.

It returned the ball to the Tide by 3.0 seconds. Bama then turned the ball around again as Bradley’s in-bounds pass sailed wide over Quinerly’s hands.

That gave Carolina possession at the same spot on her side of the court and Love’s 3-pointer fell short.

“That kind of game, it’s just the little games,” Love said. “What could we have done (better) with the little plays? The loose balls, thinking back how many loose balls could we have had? Or how many layups we missed or how many open threes we missed? Or defensive failures? Just looking back at those and thinking about them is probably the hardest part.”

No defense for 3s

Carolina was injured again from 3-point shooting. Instead of a player just getting hot like in Caleb Grill’s seven 3s and 31-point performance for Iowa State. Both Quinerly and Mark Sears approached Bama by taking eight of their first 14 shots from behind the arc.

Sears would eventually match Grill’s seven 3s en route to a team-high 24 points.

The Tide hit 16 3s overall, meaning Carolina allowed 10 or more in two of its three games at PKI and all three teams shot 37 percent or better.

Miller meets Leaky

Bama needed his outside shooting because Miller, who came into the game averaging 20.5 points, figured out why Hubert Davis calls Schwarz one of the best defenders in the nation.

Black frustrated Miller early on, blocking his shots twice. When Miller also ran into foul troubles in the first half, he never got into a scoring rhythm. Miller scored just seven points in the rule and finished the race with 14 points on 4-of-21 shooting.

“I know there are other good defenders in the country, I know I’m biased, I don’t think there’s a better one than Leaky,” Davis said. “He’s just amazing … and the reason Brandon was struggling off the floor was defending Leaky.”

Black was also the defender on the ball in Alabama’s last regulation shot. Substituted on Quinerly, he forced a final miss as the game went into overtime.

Schwarz was back in the second overtime as well, the Heels were two behind. He tapped the ball as Miller tried to drive, and the steal led to a Love layup to tie the game at 89.

This story was originally published November 27, 2022 7:05 p.m.

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CL Brown reports on the University of North Carolina for The News & Observer. Brown brings more than two decades of reporting experience, including stints as a beat writer at Indiana University and the University of Louisville. After a long stint with the Louisville Courier-Journal, where he received an APSE award, he had stints at ESPN.com, The Athletic and even attempted to run his own website, clbrownhoops.com.