The No. 25 Alabama Crimson Tide were playing short-handed, five on three, for the last 10:50 in Saturday’s matchup — a power play for the Gophers.
But this wasn’t hockey, this was basketball.
In a wild turn of events, No. 14 Minnesota (7-0) beat a shorthanded No. 25 Alabama (5-1) 89-84 in the final game of the Barclays Center Classic, which took place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York on Saturday evening.
“I didn’t even do that in AAU,” Gophers forward Jordan Murphy told reporters. “It’s like taking me back to elementary school days, honestly. It’s probably one of the most bizarre things I’ve ever been part of, college basketball-wise.”
It started when Gophers guard Nate Mason started jawing at Alabama’s Collin Sexton. Mason got ejected with 14:06 to play, following two technical fouls that resulted from the situation. Minnesota head coach Richard Pitino got one as well for arguing with the referee.
Following a three-point make by Alabama with 13:43 to play, Minnesota's Dupree McBrayer and Alabama’s Dazon Ingram got tied up under the basket and started pushing and getting ready to fight. The entire Alabama bench came on the court to back up their teammates, and the referee ejected all seven of them, leaving the team with just five members to play the rest of the game. Nobody on the Gophers’ bench was ejected.
Then, Ingram got his fifth foul and had to leave the court at 11:37. Another Alabama player, John Petty, left the game with a foot injury with 10:50 remaining.
“I’ve never ever ever seen anything like that in my life,” Pitino told reporters after the game.
The shorthanded Crimson Tide somehow outscored the Gophers, who had all five players on the court, 30-24 in the final 11 minutes of the game. Alabama, led by Sexton who scored 40 points, brought the score within three points at 1:39 remaining, but couldn’t pass up the Gophers. The Gophers took home the Barclays Center Classic Trophy.
Mason led the Gophers with 20 points before getting ejected and Murphy continued to impress with a seventh double-double of the year, off of 19 points and 14 rebounds in Saturday's game.
Gophers freshman guard Isaiah Washington had a career-high 14 points in the game where he was back in his native New York on Saturday. He was 7-15 from the floor.
The bizarre game marked the 100th career win for Pitino, and with the win over No. 25 Alabama, the Gophers could possibly see a boost in their ranking headed into week four of college basketball.
Friday's game had five players on the basketball court at all times, but the result was the same for Minnesota.
The Gophers beat UMass (3-3) on Friday in the first game of the weekend by a score of 69-51. Murphy also starred in that game with a team-high 16 points with 11 rebounds.
The Gophers are up for another challenge in their next matchup against No. 11 Miami (5-0) on Wednesday, Nov. 25. They will look to stay undefeated against an another undefeated team as they come back home to Williams Arena to play Wednesday.