No. 8 Alabama mounts comeback, beats No. 1 Houston 71-65

Dec 10, 2022, 12:41 AM | Updated: 3:34 pm
Alabama center Charles Bediako (14) is fouled by Houston guard Jamal Shead (1), right, during the f...

Alabama center Charles Bediako (14) is fouled by Houston guard Jamal Shead (1), right, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Dec. 10, 2022, in Houston. (AP Photo/Kevin M. Cox)

(AP Photo/Kevin M. Cox)

              Alabama head coach Nate Oats instructs his team during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Houston, Saturday, Dec. 10, 2022, in Houston. (AP Photo/Kevin M. Cox)
            
              Houston head coach Kelvin Sampson gestures during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Alabama, Saturday, Dec. 10, 2022, in Houston. (AP Photo/Kevin M. Cox)
            
              Houston guard Marcus Sasser (0) is defended by Alabama guard Nimari Burnett (25) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Dec. 10, 2022, in Houston. (AP Photo/Kevin M. Cox)
            
              Houston guard Tramon Mark (12) is defended by Alabama forward Brandon Miller (24) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Dec. 10, 2022, in Houston. (AP Photo/Kevin M. Cox)
            
              Alabama center Charles Bediako (14) is fouled by Houston guard Jamal Shead (1), right, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Dec. 10, 2022, in Houston. (AP Photo/Kevin M. Cox)

HOUSTON (AP) — No. 8 Alabama could have called it a day when it was trailing by double-figures early in the second half.

The Crimson Tide didn’t, and earned another marquee win this season.

Alabama rallied from a 15-point second half deficit to stun No. 1 Houston 71-65 on Saturday, becoming just the second men’s team to beat two top-ranked teams in the same season.

Noah Clowney had 16 points and 11 rebounds, Jaden Bradley added 12 points and Mark Sears scored 11 points, including nine in the second half for the Crimson Tide (8-1). Alabama shot 50% from the field in the second half and 41% for the game. The Tide went 20 of 32 on free throws, including 15 of 21 in the second half.

“This is one of those character wins that shows that our guys are going to keep fighting no matter what the score is,” Alabama coach Nate Oats said. “We could have easily given up down 15. The start of the second half wasn’t great. We made some changes with the bench guys. Hung in there, kept clawing away at the lead, finally able to take the lead and then we pulled away from them.”

The Crimson Tide beat North Carolina 103-101 in four overtimes on Nov. 27 and joins the 1990 Oklahoma team to take down two No. 1s in a season.

“Huge program win,” Oats said. “Not sure how many teams get the chance to play two No. 1 teams in nonconference, let alone beat them, but I think that shows where we’ve gotten this program to that we can play with anyone in the country at this point.”

Jamal Shead had 19 points and six rebounds, and Tramon Mark scored 10 points before fouling out with 8:10 remaining for Houston (9-1).

“That’s the No. 8 team in the nation,” Houston coach Kelvin Sampson said. “No shame losing to a really, really good Alabama team. Disappointing obviously. We haven’t lost a lot in this building.”

The Cougars shot 39% from the field, including going 1-of-8 to end the game. Houston was 3 of 13 on 3-pointers and 12 of 22 from the free-throw line.

“We just couldn’t guard,” Shead said. “We didn’t stand in front of the ball for like four or five straight possessions and that’s how they got back into it. And we just weren’t tough enough to finish it out.”

The game was tied at 63 following a Marcus Sasser free throw with two minutes left. Then Clowney put the Tide up by two with a layup with 1:12 remaining, Shead missed a jumper with 48 seconds left and Brandon Miller made two free throws five seconds later to push the lead to four.

After Reggie Chaney missed two free throws, Miller made two more free throws to give Alabama a 69-63 lead with 27 seconds remaining.

Trailing 57-49 with 8½ remaining, the Tide went on an 11-3 run to cut the lead to 61-60 on a layup by Clowney with five minutes to go.

Houston used an 18-2 run to end the first half and start the second half to take a 44-29 lead with 17:13 remaining on a steal and layup by Jarace Walker, but Alabama responded with a 15-5 spurt to cut the led to five on a 3-pointer by Sears with 11 minutes left.

BIG PICTURE

Alabama: Alabama outrebounded Houston 44-39 and got 27 points from its bench. The Tide improved to 3-1 this season against teams ranked in the AP Top 25.

Houston: The Cougars missed a chance for a resume-building win and fell to 1-1 this season against Quad 1 teams. Houston forced Alabama into 15 turnovers but turned it into only 18 points.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Houston, which has been No. 1 for two weeks, will likely fall in the AP Top 25 poll, while Alabama should rise.

UP NEXT

Alabama: Hosts Memphis on Tuesday.

Houston: Hosts North Carolina A&T on Tuesday.

___

AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

Ancer keeps his distance over Young in Saudi Arabia

KING ABDULLAH ECONOMIC CITY, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Abraham Ancer had a 6-under 64 to bump his lead to two shots over Cameron Young on Saturday going into the final round of the Saudi International. Ancer and Young, the PGA Tour rookie of the year who had a 65, have separated themselves from the field […]
1 day ago
Philadelphia Eagles' Jalen Hurts runs a drill during practice at the NFL football team's training f...
Associated Press

Super Bowl-bound Eagles are built around QB Jalen Hurts

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Philadelphia Eagles’ decision to draft Jalen Hurts in 2020 came with as much hand-wringing as intrigue regarding how to use the talented Heisman Trophy finalist. The Eagles already had quarterback Carson Wentz locked into a $128 million contract. They certainly had more pressing needs at the time on all sides of […]
1 day ago
Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young (11) drives as Utah Jazz guard Mike Conley (11) defends during the f...
Associated Press

Young scores 27 to lead Hawks past Jazz, 115-108

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Trae Young had 27 points and six assists to lead the Atlanta Hawks to a 115-108 victory over the Utah Jazz on Friday night. De’Andre Hunter scored 26 points for the Hawks. Onyeka Okongwu had 15 points and 11 rebounds, and Dejounte Murray added 13 points and eight assists. Atlanta […]
1 day ago
Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet (23) shoots a three point basket as Houston Rockets forward Jae...
Associated Press

VanVleet has 32 as Raptors get 117-111 win over Rockets

HOUSTON (AP) — Fred VanVleet scored 32 points, Gary Trent Jr. added 29 and the Toronto Raptors snapped a two-game skid with a 117-111 win over the Houston Rockets on Friday night. The Raptors took a commanding lead in the third quarter and were up by double-digits for most of the fourth. But five straight […]
1 day ago
Portland Trail Blazers guard Anfernee Simons (1) shoots against Washington Wizards guard Monte Morr...
Associated Press

Blazers rally from 20 down to end Wizards’ win streak

WASHINGTON (AP) — Anfernee Simons scored 20 of his 33 points in the third quarter and the Portland Trail Blazers erased a 20-point deficit, snapping Washington’s six-game winning streak Friday night with a 124-116 victory over the Wizards. Simons made six of Portland’s nine 3-pointers in the third, and the Trail Blazers finally caught and […]
1 day ago
Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) is fouled as he drives to the basket against San Antonio...
Associated Press

Embiid’s double-double keys 76ers as Spurs drop 8th straight

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Joel Embiid had 33 points and 10 rebounds and the Philadelphia 76ers beat San Antonio 137-125 on Friday night, sending the scuffling Spurs to their eighth straight loss. Tyrese Maxey had 25 points and James Harden added 16 for Philadelphia, which has the third-best record in the Eastern Conference. “Tonight was […]
1 day ago
No. 8 Alabama mounts comeback, beats No. 1 Houston 71-65