It took 20 extra minutes, but No. 18 Alabama finally knocked off top-ranked North Carolina on Sunday afternoon in Portland.
The Crimson Tide survived a wild battle, complete with a controversial finish on a huge block from Charles Bediako, to beat the Tar Heels 103-101 in four overtimes at the Phil Knight Invitational.
The game was just the second in NCAA history that saw two teams ranked inside the top-20 play at least four overtimes. It was Alabama’s first win over a top-ranked team since 2004, and North Carolina’s second-straight loss — following Friday’s loss to Iowa State in the semifinals.
After a stalemate through three overtimes, it was Leaky Black who finally put the Tar Heels up by one late in the fourth extra period. Black drilled a 3-pointer from the top of the key with just 94 seconds left in the game — which separated the two teams after a long back and forth. Though Bediako put in an ally-oop to put them back on top, he got called for a very close goaltending on the other end.
Officials reviewed that play, however, and took the goaltending back. Alabama regained possession, too, on a jump ball and regained their one-point lead on what was eventually determined to be an inadvertent whistle.
The Tar Heels then got it back after forcing a turnover on the inbounds immediately. But they turned it over themselves again, which sent Jaden Bradley to the free throw line one last time to eventually end the two-point win.
The Tar Heels have now dropped two straight games, somthing that will drop them from the top spot in the rankings come Monday. Iowa State, behind a huge 31-point night from Caleb Grill, got them in the semifinals on Friday night. The Cyclones will take on No. 20 UConn in the tournament championship on Sunday night.
Alabama, on the other hand, rallied perfectly after Friday’s 15-point loss to the Huskies. They’ve now won two of their last three games — including an 81-70 win over No. 12 Michigan State on Thursday — all of which came against ranked opponents.
This post will be updated with more information shortly.