No. 25 Alabama played with just three men for the final 10 minutes against No. 14 Minnesota after the Crimson Tide lost its entire bench to ejections, another player to a foul out and another player to an injury. Bama still nearly pulled off the upset win, before eventually losing, 89-84.
With 13 minutes left in the game, the ENTIRE Crimson Tide bench was ejected. The official ruling was for “leaving the bench” in a skirmish in which Minnesota’s Nate Mason was also ejected.
Alabama basketball is really upset about the Iron Bowl pic.twitter.com/YlfoJhHVI8— Andrew Joseph (@AndyJ0seph) November 25, 2017
This isn't the the Iron Bowl but Alabama and Minnesota had to be separated just now after Nate Mason was ejected for talking smack. Avery Johnson, Collin Sexton also T'ed up. pic.twitter.com/r04ERhScGA— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) November 25, 2017
Turns out, an empty bench looks really lonely, and this is when Bama still had five players on the floor despite the mass ejection.
This is the Alabama bench right now. pic.twitter.com/7u52Ts1RIp— Chris Stone (@cstonehoops) November 25, 2017
Surely things couldn’t get any worse, right? Shortly thereafter, Dazon Ingram, one of Bama’s remaining five players, picked up his fifth foul, leaving the Tide with just four players on the court for the rest of the game.
And now Alabama's Dazon Ingram just picked up his fifth foul. They'll have four guys for the last 11:37 of this game.— Rob Dauster (@RobDauster) November 25, 2017
How do you turn a rotten situation into, well, an even more rotten situation? Injury. Bama’s John Petty sprained his ankle with just over nine minutes remaining in the game, leaving the Tide with THREE players on the floor, facing down a full five.
If you’re wondering how the NCAA rulebook’s language treats playing men-down like this, here’s the NCAA’s prescription for when teams are forced to play with fewer than five players:
Rule 3, Sect. 2, Art. 2. Each team may continue to play with fewer than five players when all other team members are not eligible or able to play.
Rule 3, Sect. 2, Art. 3. When there is only one player participating for a team, that team shall forfeit unless the referee believes that both teams have an opportunity to win.
This feasibly allows for a situation in which two NCAA basketball teams could complete a game in a 1-on-1 scenario, which would be incredible to watch.
Still, Alabama somehow almost pulled it off.
When Petty went down with the ankle injury, the Gophers held a 13-point advantage over the Tide. Playing with just three men, Alabama climbed back into the game as the Tide outscored Minnesota 30-22 over the course of the last 10 1/2 minutes. Bama got as close as 83-80 with 1:39 to play but couldn’t finish off the upset.
Collin Sexton had 40 points for the Tide, going 12 of 22 from the field and putting on a show.
He also added five assists in the game, including this dime in traffic that led to an Alabama dunk:
The game was streamed on Facebook Live and had over 31,000 viewers over the last minute of the game.