As the host teams in the West Virginia Regional of The Basketball Tournament at the Charleston Coliseum, Best Virginia and Herd That are one win away from a head-to-head showdown Wednesday night, with the winner there advancing to TBT’s quarterfinals starting Aug. 3 in Dayton, Ohio.
To get there, though, the WVU and Marshall alumni teams first need second-round wins Monday night. Herd That, the region’s No. 3 seed, faces No. 6 seed Team 23 at 7 p.m., and Best Virginia, seeded No. 2, then takes on No. 7 D2 at about 9 p.m. Both games will be televised by ESPN2.
Both Mountain State TBT entrants won their first-round games Saturday afternoon, with Herd That handling Team DNC 85-76 and Best Virginia advancing with an 70-67 win over WoCo Showtime.
Two earlier second-round games are also scheduled Monday, with No. 12 seed Bucketneers taking on No. 4 Armored Athlete at 2 p.m. and No. 1 Sideline Cancer facing No. 9 Fort Wayne Champs at 4 p.m.
Herd That’s Jon Elmore, the state high school player of the year at George Washington in 2014, said there’s a little extra pressure on the host teams, especially those, like him, who grew up in Charleston.
“I don’t know what would’ve happened if we lost our first game,” Elmore said after Saturday’s win. “That would’ve been bad. I live here, so I would’ve had to hear about that forever.”
Jacorey Williams, who played his college ball at Middle Tennessee, led Herd That with 23 points and eight rebounds Saturday while Elmore added 21 points and five assists.
In Team 23, Herd That will face a team that rolled to a 91-64 win over Georgia Kingz in its opener Saturday. Raphiael Putney, a 6-foot-10 power forward who played at Massachusetts, scored 19 points with seven rebounds in only 20 minutes of playing time for Team 23.
Other top scorers for Team 23 in its first-round win were Walt Lemon, Dakarai Tucker and Eric Griffin, who each scored 12. Team 23 shot 56% from the floor (38 for 68) and made 11 of 19 3-pointers and outrebounded Georgia Kingz 43-29.
Best Virginia had to endure a hairy Elam Ending finish to hold off WoCo Showtime Saturday afternoon. Best Virginia led by as many as nine points down the stretch before WoCo Showtime, a Wofford College-based alumni team, stormed back and had the ball with a chance to win.
Best Virginia, though, came up with a turnover and a Kevin Jones layup to wrap up the win. Jones finished with 18 points and 13 rebounds to lead the team, which also got big contributions from John Flowers (16 points) and Tarik Phillip (11 points, 10 rebounds).
Best Virginia’s opponent in Monday’s nightcap, D2, advanced Saturday with a 68-56 win over Bleed Virginia. D2, made up exclusively of NCAA Division II players, outscored Bleed Virginia 18-8 in the fourth quarter to secure the win.
Leading the way for D2 were two former Queens University players, 6-4 Shaun Willett with 18 points and seven rebounds and 6-8 Todd Withers with 16 points and nine boards.
Bucketneers 77, War Ready 50: Tray Boyd III led all scorers with 21 points, hitting 5 of 6 3-pointers for the No. 12-seeded Bucketneers, a team of East Tennessee State alumni who jumped out to a 15-point first-quarter lead and never looked back. Justin Tuoyo (14 points, eight rebounds) and Tevin Glass (15 points) also reached double-figure scoring for the Bucketneers, whose bench outscored War Ready’s 47-16. Laron Smith led the way with 12 points and seven rebounds in the losing effort for No. 5 seed War Ready, an Auburn alumni squad.
Armored Athlete 88, HBCUnited 52: Fourth-seeded Armored Athlete had five double-figure scorers, with Coty Clark and Tariq Owens leading the way with 15 points each and Malcolm Miller adding 14. No. 13 HBCUnited, which led 19-15 after the first quarter but was outscored 72-33 the rest of the way, was led by Tiwian Kendley’s 12 points.
Sideline Cancer 80, Founding Fathers 77: Maurice Creek hit a tie-breaking corner 3-pointer to advance top-seeded Sideline Cancer on to round two. Creek had 16 points, five rebounds and four assists for Sideline Cancer, which advanced to TBT’s title game last year. Trey Lewis led all scorers with 19 points and Marcus Keene, a 2020 All-TBT honoree, chipped in with 16 points. Stucky Mosley’s 17 points led the way for he Founding Fathers.
Fort Wayne Champs 72, PrimeTime Players 61: Tayler Persons tallied a game-high 17 points to lead the Fort Wayne Champs. Christian James (13 points) and Rashard Odomes (12 points) reached double figures for the Champs, who led by as many as 19 points. Christian Keeling had 13 points and Trevor Booker had a double-double (12 points, 12 rebounds) for the PrimeTime Players.