Crimson Pride: Alabama basketball plays 5-on-3 hoops

Alabama finished the Saturday’s game against Minnesota with just three players due to ejections, injuries and fouls.

Writing for a New York sports website one can easily forget that the rest of the sports world does not revolve around the greatest city in the world.

However, the rest of the sports world does not cease to exist and every once and a while, New Yorkers can benefit from what we see in teams that don’t represent our city.

One of those examples happened on Saturday Night. While the teams that were playing did not have anything to do with the New York sports scene, the arena they played in did.

This weekend the Barclays Center hosted the Barclays Center Classic, which featured Alabama, BYU, Minnesota and Massachusetts. While Friday’s game was played at the Steinberg Wellness Center on the campus of LIU-Brooklyn (the Nets had a home game on Friday against Portland and the Preseason NIT was played at night), Saturday’s games were played at the Barclays Center.

In the first game of the doubleheader, Alabama faced Minnesota. Trailing most of the game, things got interesting for Alabama with a little over 13 and a half minutes left in the game.

Minnesota’s Nate Mason and Alabama’s Collin Sexton were each assessed technical fouls for talking to each other, and the Golden Gophers senior guard was ejected. About a half-minute later, a near brawl ensued between both teams. Five Alabama players were then ejected from the game for leaving the bench during the altercation.

“By rule, whenever a potential situation occurs on the court, no player may leave the bench area. If they do leave the bench area and don’t participate in the altercation that’s going on then they are ejected from this contest and there’s no further penalty, which is what happened,” officials told reporters, per the Associated Press’ Denis P. Gorman via the Washington Post. “They all came onto the court. We went to the monitor and reviewed all of that. Based on the views that were given us it showed all of their players on the bench, came off the bench onto the court. The views we were given we didn’t see anyone from the Minnesota bench come onto the floor.”

After the incident, Alabama was left with just five players. Two minutes later, Dazon Ingram fouled out, leaving the Crimson Tide with just four players. One minute after that, Alabama lost John Petty to an ankle injury.

There was 10:41 remaining in the game when Petty was injured. Alabama had to play the rest of the game with just three players, trailing 67-54. It was then that Riley Norris, Galin Smith and Sexton showed their true heart.

Sexton put on a show, finishing with 40 points to lead all scorers. The Tide roared back, having a chance to cut the deficit to one with 1:15 remaining, but Sexton missed a right- side jumper. Minnesota then converted a basket and foul shot to extend the lead back to six, thus ending any chance of a miraculous comeback.

In the end, Alabama lost 89-85, but the effort of those three players to rally back against incredible odds in a major college basketball game was truly inspirational.

“We fought to the very end,” Alabama coach Avery Johnson said. “There was no surrender in our team. That’s the bright spot in today’s game.”

A bright spot is an understatement. On a day when Alabama’s football team broke many of their fans hearts, Crimson Tide basketball team made everyone proud.

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