Jazz Guard Sexton Nearly Won Game With Only Three Players

Sep 7, 2022, 2:41 PM
Utah Jazz guard Collin Sexton at Alabama (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – As a top-five recruit, Collin Sexton was a big name in basketball circles, but the new Utah Jazz guard’s jump onto the national scene came when he nearly led his Alabama roster to an improbable win despite having just three players on the floor.

Before joining the Jazz, Sexton played just one year at Alabama where the nation’s top point guard averaged 19.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 3.6 assists and led the Crimson Tide to second the round of the NCAA Tournament.

While his freshman season lived up to his hype coming out of high school, it was his performance on November 25, 2017, that made him an Alabama legend.

Just one day after beating BYU at the Barclays Center Classic, 25th-ranked Alabama hosted 14th-ranked Minnesota with a chance to be named the in-season tournament championship.

However, a brawl nearly broke out between Alabama’s Dazon Ingram and Minnesota’s DuPree McBrayer.

McBrayer was assessed a technical foul for his role in the scuffle, while Crimson Tide players Alex Reese, Donta Hall, Lawson Schaffer, Herb Jones, Landon Fuller, Daniel Giddens, and Avery Johnson Jr. were all ejected for leaving the Alabama bench during the incident.

That left Alabama with only five healthy players over the final 13:39 of the second half, trailing Minnesota 57-50.

Two minutes later Ingram picked up his fifth personal foul and was disqualified from the game leaving Alabama with just four players with 11:37 left on the game clock now trailing 61-52.

That’s when disaster truly struck for the Crimson Tide.

Less than a minute later Alabama’s starting shooting guard John Petty suffered an ankle injury and had to be removed from the game, trimming the roster to just three available players with 10:50 left to play and facing an 11 point deficit.

While Minnesota should have coasted to an easy victory playing against the shorthanded Crimson Tide roster, Sexton took over the final 10 minutes of the game and etched his name in the college sports history books.

After Davonte Fitzgerald’s layup gave the Golden Gophers a 13 point lead with 10:41 left to play, Sexton would score 17 of Alabama’s 29 points to close the game, and nearly earning the Crimson Tide a stunning victory.

Despite facing double and triple teams by Minnesota defense, Sexton converted three layups, three three-point shots, and two free-throws over the final 10 minutes of the game trimming the Golden Gophers lead to just three points with 1:39 left to play.

“Collin Sexton could beat a single team just one guy by himself,” Minnesota head coach Richard Pitino said. “He’s that good.”

Sexton also recorded four rebounds in the game’s final minutes, though his three-man Alabama roster ultimately fell 89-82 to Minnesota.

Ultimately, the newest Jazz guard finished with 40 points, six rebounds, five assists, and only three turnovers in 36 minutes on the court, with the next highest scorer on the team recording just 13 points.

“We definitely made a little news off of that, made it to SportsCenter and everything,” Sexton wrote in an article for the Players Tribune. “And I think that was probably the first time a lot of basketball fans heard about me.”

Sexton would go on to be named the SEC Freshman of the year before being selected with the eighth overall pick by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2017 NBA Draft before signing with the Jazz.

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