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Where Alabama-UNC ranks among longest college basketball games ever

Alabama and North Carolina played a four-overtime thriller at the Phil Knight Invitational on Sunday. We’ll take a look at where this stacks up to the longest college basketball games of all time.

Phil Knight Invitational - Alabama vs. Michigan State Photo by Soobum Im/Getty Images

The third-place game of the 2022 Phil Knight Invitational turned into a marathon as No. 18 Alabama took down No. 1 North Carolina in a 103-101 four-overtime thriller. This early-season tournament showdown in Portland, OR, earned the distinction of being the third-longest game in college basketball history.

The longest game in men’s college basketball history took place on December 21, 1981, where Cincinnati defeated Bradley 75-73 in seven overtimes. This game took place before the widespread the implementation of the shot clock in college basketball and nine players recorded over 60 minutes of game time.

The second-longest game in college basketball history and longest game during the shot clock era is the epic six-overtime battle between Syracuse and UConn during the quarterfinals of the 2009 Big East Tournament. The Johnny Flynn-led Orange battled the Kemba Walker-led Huskies deep into the early hours of the morning at Madison Square Garden as Syracuse ultimately pulled ahead for a 127-117 victory.