No. 18 Alabama edged out No. 1 North Carolina in a four-overtime thriller on Sunday to finish in third place in the Phil Knight Invitational tournament, 103-101.
Mark Sears had 24 points, five rebounds and five assists for the Crimson Tide while Javon Quinerly added 21 points to knock out the top-ranked team. It was the first time Alabama had beaten a top-tier team since defeating Stanford in the 2004 NCAA Tournament.
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“I was losing track of how many overtimes we had at the end,” Alabama’s Nate Oats said after the game. “A lot of credit to our guys. I think they showed a lot of character when we could have retired.”
Charles Bediako added 14 points for Alabama, including giving the Crimson Tide the lead for good with a layup with 26 seconds remaining in final overtime.
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North Carolina guard Caleb Love led the way for the Tar Heels with 34 points, nine rebounds, four assists and three steals. Armando Bacot had 20 points and 10 rebounds, while RJ Davis added 19 points and nine rebounds.
“At the end of the day, Alabama made one more play than we did,” North Carolina coach Hubert Davis said. “I went into the dressing room and several of the guys had their heads down, and I told them to put their heads up. I’m just as disappointed (as the players) in terms of the end result, but I couldn’t.” I’m not prouder of the way they competed.”
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It was the second four-overtime game in North Carolina history. The other came in a win over Tulane in 1976.
Associated Press contributed to this report.