UNC basketball falls to Alabama in 4OT stunner, suffers second loss in three days | basketball

PORTLAND, Ore. — Alabama coach Nate Oats said Friday, after both the Crimson Tide and North Carolina lost games at the Phil Knight Invitational, that Sunday’s matchup would be as close to a must-win game as it gets in the could be November.

Both teams played the same way.

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 featured 15 draws and 14 lead changes before Alabama eventually emerged victorious in fourth overtime, 103-101.

Leaky Black’s 3-pointer with 1:34 left put the Heels at 101-100. They had a chance to win three, but RJ Davis’ jumper in lane ran wild.

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

He blocked a shot from Caleb Love, who was ruled a keeper, and gave Carolina a 9.3 second lead. When play was reviewed, officials picked up the call, and alternating possession returned the ball to the tide. Love finished with a career-high 34 points.

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 in-bounds pass forced a turnover when he dived and the ball last touched Sears.

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

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 being a win over Tulane in 1976.

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 Jahvon Quinerly with 28 seconds remaining. 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 Jaden 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.

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.

Quinerly 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.

Bama needed his outside shooting because top scorer Brandon Miller, who started the game averaging 20.5 points, found out why Leaky Black are one of the better 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.

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 attempted to drive, and the steal led to a layup by Caleb Love to tie the game at 89.

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