HUNTINGTON — Backed by Floyd Mayweather, The Money Team isn’t accustomed to taking losses.
On Thursday, however, Herd That sent The Money Team sprawling to a 102-99 loss, thanks to a game-winner from Ryan Luther that capped a 16-2 game-ending run in the round of 16 at The Basketball Tournament in Columbus, Ohio.
For Herd That, the game plan during the rally was simple: just keep fighting.
“We stuck together as a team and kept playing,” Herd That guard and General Manager Ot Elmore said after the win.
Herd That advanced to the quarterfinals at 2 p.m. Saturday against Overseas Elite, a 76-70 winner Thursday over Armored Athlete. Overseas Elite is a four-time TBT champion.
TBT officials called Herd That’s win one of the most stunning comebacks in tournament history as the Marshall-based group rallied against a lineup that had extensive NBA experience.
Herd That trailed 93-84 going to the Elam Ending, in which the first team to reach the target score 101 points would be the winner.
Jordon Crawford’s 3-pointer for The Money Team made the score 97-86 and put Herd That on the ropes, but the Marshall-based alumni team ended the game on a 16-2 run with Luther scoring through contact off a dish from Jon Elmore for the game-winner.
“Ryan doesn’t get a lot of credit, but he’s a heck of a player, man,” Jon Elmore said of Luther. “He hit some big shots, some huge drives, big rebounds. He’s a guy that’s going to make a lot of right reads.
“He made a great, phenomenal finish to end the game, and that’s just credit to him being ready when his number was called.”
While the offense gets all the focus for Herd That, the defensive end is where the most important plays came down the stretch.
Jon Elmore drew a charge and had two deflections that went for turnovers that helped produce late possessions.
“I don’t want to hear the defense thing anymore because when the game was on the line, we sat down and put the handcuffs on and took them out of the game,” Jon Elmore said.
The defensive effort rallied the team back from an early 18-point deficit to its first lead at 100-99 on a slam by JaCorey Williams.
“We knew it was going to be a game of runs,” Williams said. “Everybody kept playing with confidence. We trust each other.”
While the team is Marshall-based, it was a pair of former Conference USA adversaries who led the way to Thursday’s win.
Chris Cokley finished with 32 points and seven rebounds while Williams added 30 points and six rebounds in the comeback. Zach Smith also had 12 points in the win for Herd That.
Overcoming the deficit was a difficult task for Herd That as The Money Team came out and topped Herd That at its own game early.
The Money Team landed haymakers from the outside in the first quarter to build a 40-22 lead that seemed insurmountable.
During the early going, things got chippy with technical fouls both ways and the teams having to be separated on different occasions.
At the center of the chatter between the sides was Ot Elmore, who said Herd That had to make a statement that they weren’t backing down from anyone.
“We’re here, too, so you’d better be ready because it’s going to be a dogfight,” Ot Elmore said. “I may not score 20 points a game, but I’m going to do whatever I can to try and help. I thought maybe that would set the tone a bit.”
That statement and the play of Cokley helped fuel a run that got Herd That back within 62-55 at the break.
While The Money Team jumped out big early, its style played into the hands of Herd That due to the barrage of 3-pointers being shot.
After a first quarter in which The Money Team hit several shots, those numbers started to level out in the second quarter as Herd That made a run.
“A 20-point deficit to us is like eight,” Jon Elmore said. “We hit a couple 3s, get a couple stops, a couple dunks and it’s a whole new ballgame.”
Bryce Alford led The Money Team with 20 points on 6-of-10 shooting from 3-point range. As a team, The Money Team was 19 of 41 from long range.
Crawford also had 17 points and seven assists for The Money Team.
Herd That’s guard rotation suffered a loss when former Logan and Marshall product Stevie Browning was unable to go after suffering an ankle injury in Thursday’s opening-round win over Peoria All-Stars.
Browning’s availability for Saturday’s 2 p.m. matchup is unknown.