INDIANAPOLIS — Alabama basketball got a buzzer-beater from Alex Reese to send the game to overtime but fell to UCLA as its season ended in the NCAA tournament’s round of 16 on Sunday night.
UCLA defeated the Crimson Tide 88-78 at Hinkle Fieldhouse after Reese hit a 3-pointer – his first bucket of the game – to tie it at 65 and force overtime.
The Bruins scored the first seven points of overtime, and Alabama never again came within one possession.
Alabama (27-6), a No. 2 seed, was seeking to make its second trip to the regional finals in program history.
Alabama had won eight games in a row and 11 of its last 12. UA, which won the SEC tournament and regular-season championships, defeated 15th-seeded Iona in the first round of the NCAA tournament and No. 10 seed Maryland in the second round.
UCLA, a No. 11 seed, improved to 21-9 and will play Michigan on Tuesday. The Bruins advanced to the final eight for the first time since since 2008 and were playing in the final 16 for the first time since 2014.
UCLA will play Michigan next.
Here’s how it happened:
1. Foul shooting dooms Alabama
Trailing by 11 points at halftime, Alabama started the second half with an 11-0 run and then the drama began in earnest.
Unfortunately for Alabama, most of that drama played out at the foul line. Despite Alex Reese’s clutch 3-pointer at the regulation buzzer, the overtime proved anticlimactic and Alabama was left to ponder its collapse at the foul line, where it made just 11 of 25 attempts.
That included three straight foul shot misses by Crimson Tide senior Herbert Jones in the final 36 seconds of regulation. Aside from a 4-for-4 foul shooting performance by John Petty Jr., the rest of the Crimson Tide was just 7-of-21.
Jahvon Quinerly and Petty combined for 36 points, but only Keon Ellis (10) joined them in double figures.
2. Last 10 minutes of first half sting Crimson Tide
The game started with senior forward Jones drawing two offensive fouls in the opening moments, but the Crimson Tide overcame his absence and went on a run that resulted in a 19-11 lead midway through the half.
Things went badly for the rest of the half, though. UCLA outscored Alabama 29-10, excoriating the highly-rated UA defense and closing the half on an 18-4 run to take a 40-29 halftime lead.
Alabama made just three of its 10 3-three point attempts in the half and did not make a 3-pointer in the final 13:15 of the half.
3. Final 16 road block
The large obstacle that Alabama has overcome only once in NCAA play rose up once again. This was the ninth Crimson Tide appearance in the final 16 and only once has Alabama, in 2004, has Alabama advanced to the final eight.