No. 18 Alabama wins quadruple-OT thriller against No. 1 North Carolina


Courtesy of UA Athletics

Alabama’s Charles Bediako (14) throws it down in the Crimson Tide’s 103-101 four-overtime victory over the No. 1 North Carolina Tar Heels on Nov. 27 at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Portland, Ore.

Mathey Gibson, Staff Reporter

It wasn’t pretty. It certainly wasn’t without frustration, but in the end, the Alabama Crimson Tide came out on top in college basketball’s “game of the year” to date. 

On Sunday night, No. 18 Alabama (6-1) defeated the No. 1 University of North Carolina Tarheels 103-101 in four overtimes, nabbing its first victory over a top-ranked team since overcoming Stanford University in 2004. 

For the Crimson Tide, it was Mark Sears leading the way on offense, scoring 24 points on a blistering 8-for-13 shooting — hitting 7-of-11 shots from downtown and tallying five assists.  

The Muscle Shoals, Alabama, product helped prevent the Tar Heels (5-2) from collapsing into the paint — an area manned by none other than Charles Bediako, who dominated Hubert Davis’ squad with 14 points on 8-for-13 shooting while grabbing 16 boards.  

Bediako’s performance came without his frontcourt counterpart Noah Clowney, who exited the game in the first half after a hard fall under the basket.  

Clowney, the team’s leading rebounder, was listed as “questionable” by the coaching staff and did not return for what was described as a lower-body contusion.  

For North Carolina, it was guards Caleb Love and RJ Davis leading the charge in the backcourt — combining for 53 points. Joining them were forwards Leaky Black and Armando Bacot, who combined for 30. 

Down the stretch, the Crimson Tide found themselves in foul trouble — with Bediako, Brandon Miller and Nimari Burnett each having four fouls with under a minute to play.  

With the game on the line, the ball found itself in familiar hands with Jahvon Quinerly. 

Shot went up — it fell just short. 

Over the course of the next four overtimes, Alabama and North Carolina traded blows.  

A bucket from Bacot. A three from Miller. A jumper from Love. A dunk by Bediako. 

Time and time again, the two teams answered the bell — refusing to give the other side even an inch of space. 

With 26 seconds left to go in overtime four, Bediako, who continually imposed his will down low, converted a layup. 

102-101, Alabama took the lead. 

North Carolina took it up the court — and with eight seconds left, the 7-footer was called for a goaltending violation on a shot by Love.  

103-102, North Carolina — but not for long. The shot was taken off the board after a review, and an inadvertent whistle was called with the possession arrow favoring Alabama.  

102-101, Crimson Tide basketball deep on the sideline for Jaden Bradley. In a moment of horror for Alabama fans, the freshman guard threw it away on a pass attempt to Mark Sears.  

Tar Heel basketball, seven seconds left.  

As Pete Nance in-bounded it for North Carolina, the ball was stolen. 

The hero? None other than Bediako himself. 

After a quick foul, Bradley was sent to the line — he nailed one of two and left no time for the Tar Heels. 

The buzzer sounded, and the Crimson Tide bench exploded.  

“That was a fun one,” Alabama head coach Nate Oats said. “I was losing track of how many overtimes we were in at the end.”  

In the face of defeat, the banged up, youthful Crimson Tide rebounded after a tough loss in the greatest way possible — by beating the team seated atop the polls. 

“Our guys, they fought,” Quinerly said. “We fought as a team. It just goes to show our resiliency as a group. I’m just super proud. … It was a statement win.” 

Statement, indeed. After its historic victory, Alabama will now set their sights on a homecourt matchup with South Dakota State University — a team they defeated last season, 104-88. 

Tipoff between No. 18 Alabama and South Dakota State in Coleman Coliseum is set for Saturday, Dec. 3, at 7:30 p.m. CT on the SEC Network. 

Questions or comments? Email Austin Hannon (Sports Editor) at [email protected]