Courtesy of Crimson Magazine
By Stan J. Griffin: November 29, 2015
During Sunday's fifth-place game at the AdvoCare Invitational in Orlando, Fla, it appeared on several occasions down the stretch that Mike Brey's No. 17 Notre Dame basketball team was about to finally put away Avery Johnson's University of Alabama squad.
But a stubborn and resilient Crimson Tide squad would never fold, and the result was back-to-back victories over Top 25 opponents for the first time in a decade for the UA men's program.
Senior guard Retin Obasohan hit a clutch basket for Alabama with only eight seconds remaining in the contest to put the Tide ahead, and then Johnson's team withstood a last scoring opportunity for the Fighting Irish as it held on for the thrilling 74-73 upset.
Alabama, coming off an equally-pulsating win over No. 20 Wichita State Friday, improved to 4-2 on the season.
The game was close early and Alabama got off to a good start shooting thanks to two early 3-pointers by Arthur Edwards.
With Notre Dame leading 5-3, however, Alabama used a 13-0 run led by junior forward Shannon Hale to build a lead of 16-5 with just under 14 minutes left in the first half.
Notre Dame used a trey to cut the lead to 16-8, but Edwards scored five points in a row to boost the Tide advantage back to 21-8 at the 12:51 mark.
With Alabama leading 23-10, the Fighting Irish used its own 10-2 surge to cut the Tide's lead to 25-20 with just over nine minutes remaining.
Alabama scored four in a row to make the score 29-20, but Notre Dame answered by scoring the next eight points to cut the UA lead to a precarious 29-28 at the 6:38 mark.
Hale, though, scored four points in a 6-0 UA run to boost the lead back to 35-28 and later Edwards scored his 14th and 15th points of the half to make the score 37-30.
At the half, Alabama led 43-39.
As the second half began, Notre Dame continued a 6-0 spurt which tied the score at 43-43 and then the Irish took a one-point lead of 46-45 with just over 18 minutes left.
With Notre Dame up 49-45, Hale punctuated a 5-0 Alabama run with a trey to put the Tide back on top 50-49, but Notre Dame scored the next four to regain the lead at 53-50 at the 15:30 mark.
Both teams traded two-point leads for awhile after this, but with Alabama up 61-59, Notre Dame scored five in a row to go up 64-61 with just under nine minutes remaining.
With Notre Dame up 66-63 after a 7-2 run, Obasohan hit a free throw and Mike Kessens chipped in with a basket to tie the game again at 66-66 at the 5:21 mark.
Although the Irish was able to grab a couple of three-point leads late, Kessens continued to keep Alabama alive with key rebounds and Hale hit a pair of free throws at the 1:25 mark to cut the Notre Dame lead to 73-72.
With only 28 seconds left, Notre Dame, with a chance to perhaps seal the deal again, missed a pair of free throws and Alabama took a pair of timeouts with 23.5 seconds left to set up a potential game-winning shot.
With eight seconds remaining, Obasohan was able to get a layup to fall, and Notre Dame missed a potential game-winning inside shot on the other end, setting off a wild celebration with Johnson and his players and coaches.
Notre Dame fell to 4-2 with the loss.
For the game, Obasohan and Hale poured in 19 points each while Edwards finished with 15. Kessens grabbed nine rebounds to go along with eight points. Alabama shot 54.4percent (31-57) and hauled in 34 rebounds while Notre Dame shot 44.6 percent (25-56) and recorded 32 rebounds.
Next up, Alabama remains on the road, traveling to Hattiesburg, Miss., to take on the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles on Friday, Dec. 4.
The game is slated for a 7:00 p.m. CT tipoff and will air on Fox Sports 1.
Special thanks: Alabama Athletics Communications
Courtesy of Crimson Magazine