SWORD MAGAZINE 25
And then there’s the case of Cavaliers rookie
Collin Sexton – who posted a performance that,
by the following morning, had the entire sports
world asking: ‘Did you see what that kid from
That game – an early-November loss that
actually knocked the Crimson Tide out of the
Top 25 – put the Young Bull on the map. And
this past June, the Wine and Gold found him.
It’s the stuff you dream about playing on your
backyard hoop – a David vs. Goliath moment in
which Sexton and two Alabama teammates went
3-on-5 against 14th-ranked Minnesota for the
last 10 minutes of the ballgame – outscoring the
Golden Gophers, 30-22, and nearly pulling out a
Sexton – himself double- and triple-teamed
the rest of the way – led the way, scoring 31 of
his Alabama freshman-record 40 points in the
second half, going 12-for-22 from the floor,
including 4-of-7 from long-range and 12-of-
16 from the stripe.
Playing on a neutral floor at the Barclays
Center in Brooklyn, things began getting
weird just over five minutes into the second
half when Sexton and Minnesota’s senior
guard, Nate Mason, began jawing with one
another after Mason’s triple put the Gophers
up two touchdowns.
Each player earned a technical foul and not
long after, Mason continued to jaw with
‘Bama’s bench, drawing his second tech
and an ejection. The bad blood continued a
minute later, as a shoving match escalated
into a full-blown rhubarb, and although
no punches were thrown, almost the entire
Tide bench entered the floor – each earning
techs and leaving Bama with just five
With just under 12 minutes to play, Dazon
Ingram picked up his fifth personal foul and
was done for the night, leaving Bama with
four players. And on their next possession, John
Petty missed on a three-pointer and came down
awkwardly on his ankle, sidelining him for the
rest of the night.
Left with Sexton, Galin Smith – another
freshman who didn’t attempt a shot in his
previous game – and Riley Norris, a senior
who’d played in only two of Bama’s first 11
games, Coach Avery Johnson’s strategy on
both ends was simple: Defensively, play a 1-2
zone, pack the paint and dare Minnesota to
shoot uncontested threes and long jumpers.
Offensively, turn the Young Bull loose.
Sexton scored in every way imaginable, despite
Pitino running two defenders at him every time
he touched the ball – slicing into the paint and
creating for his (two) teammates or elevating
over the top to connect from long-range.