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No. 8 Alabama sends No. 1 Houston to first loss

Dec 10, 2022; Houston, Texas, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide forward Brandon Miller (24) drives with the ball as Houston Cougars guard Tramon Mark (12) defends during the first half at Fertitta Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Noah Clowney scored 16 points, including the go-ahead layup with 1:12 remaining, to lift No. 8 Alabama to a 71-65 victory over host and top-ranked Houston on Saturday.

The Crimson Tide’s second win over the team ranked atop the AP poll in as many months made them the first to have multiple victories over the top-ranked team in a season before Jan. 1 since Duke during the 1965-66 season.

Alabama (8-1) defeated then-No. 1 North Carolina 103-101 in four overtimes on Nov. 27. Duke knocked off then-No. 1 UCLA on Dec. 10 and 11 in 1965.

The Crimson Tide rallied from a 15-point deficit with 17:13 left to hand the Cougars (9-1) their first loss of the season.

Clowney added a game-high 11 rebounds, while Jaden Bradley added 12 points, five rebounds and four assists. Mark Sears added 11 points for Alabama.

Houston was led by Jamal Shead with 19 points and seven rebounds, while Tramon Mark added 10 points. J’Wan Roberts chipped in nine points and nine rebounds, with Marcus Sasser adding nine points on just 2-of-11 shooting.

Leading 31-27 at halftime, the Cougars opened the second-half on a 13-2 run to take a 44-29 lead following Jarace Walker’s fastbreak layup with 17:13 remaining.

The Crimson Tide chipped away at the deficit and took a 63-62 lead on Sears’ 3-pointer with 3:03 remaining before Sasser split two free throws to tie the game at 63 with 1:59 remaining.

Alabama took the lead for good on Clowney’s layup off Sears’ missed 3-pointer with 1:12 to go. After Shead missed a jumper for Houston with 48 seconds left, Brandon Miller’s two free throws made it 67-63.

Miller followed with two more three throws with 27 seconds left to push the lead to 69-63 before Reggie Chaney’s layup cut it to 69-65 with 13 seconds left.

Miller capped the win by hitting two free throws with 12 seconds to go.

Neither team led by more than five points during a tightly contested first half that ended with the Cougars ahead 31-27.

–Field Level Media