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Best Virginia’s Kevin Jones high-fives teammate Teyvon Myers (0) during a timeout in their TBT win over WoCo Showtime Saturday at the Charleston Coliseum.

Best Virginia withstood a furious charge by WoCo Showtime during the Elam Ending portion of Saturday’s The Basketball Tournament first-round game to hold on for a 70-67 victory at the Charleston Coliseum.

With the win, the Mountaineer alumni team advanced to the TBT’s second round, where it will face the winner of Bleed Virginia and D2. That contest will also be played at the Charleston Coliseum and will take place at 9 p.m. Monday.

Best Virginia was one point from victory with a nine-point lead during the TBT’s unique Elam Ending, but WoCo, which consists of a number of Wofford alums, put together an 8-0 run and had an opportunity to pull out a dramatic, comeback victory. Best Virginia’s Kevin Jones scored in transition, though, to push Best Virginia on to the 64-team, single-elimination tournament’s second round.

“I just wanted to get an easy shot,” Jones said of his game-winner. “We only had one point to score, and we had been shooting tough shots.

“I just wanted to get something easy, and I saw an opportunity to get a fast-break basket,” added Jones, who led BV in both scoring (18 points) and rebounding (13). “Coach [James] Long kept telling us to run and get easy points, so that’s what we did.”

Best Virginia fell behind early in the contest, as WoCo took a 15-6 lead before the game was eight minutes old. Fairmont State grad Jamel Morris, the only non-WVU alum on Best Virginia, scored six quick points to help BV narrow the Showtime lead to 15-12 by the end of the first quarter.

Best Virginia continued its charge in the second quarter. It took a 16-15 lead on a John Flowers layup and was in front 22-17 at the 3:34 mark after a Teyvon Myers bucket. WoCo fought back in the closing moments of the opening half, though. A Fletcher Magee 3-pointer gave Showtime a 29-28 lead with 30 seconds left, but Juwan Staten’s drive lifted BV to a 30-29 advantage shortly before the first-half horn sounded.

Best Virginia cranked up its defensive pressure in the second half, forcing WoCo into six turnovers in the final 20 minutes while allowing it to make just 38% of its field goal attempts. That helped Best Virginia grow its second-half advantage to as large as 14 points.

“We used ball pressure; that’s what we do,” explained Long, BV’s head coach who spent four seasons as a player at WVU (2014-17) and two more as a member of Bob Huggins’ Mountaineer staff before becoming the head coach at WVU Tech in Beckley in 2019. “That ball pressure is something all of us on this team have done long before we got to the TBT.

“In a game like that, we had to turn the number of possessions up,” added Long, who played with many of the Best Virginia members he’s now coaching. “I transferred to West Virginia after spending my freshman year at Wofford. That’s what they want — low possessions, methodical. They are great at that and have great players. They may be the best shooting team in the TBT. They can make things difficult, so we ran some ball pressure to steal some possessions and steal some points. That kind of turned it for us.”

Best Virginia started the second half with an 11-0 run to open up a 41-29 lead. Showtime tried to battle back, drawing within four, 46-42, late in the third period. When Best Virginia had cause for concern, though, Jones took charge, leading an 8-0 BV run over the course of the final minute of the third quarter and the first three of the fourth.

Best Virginia took a 61-52 lead into the Elam Ending with under four minutes left, meaning the first team to 69 would secure the victory.

Best Virginia seemingly was in control, but WoCo wouldn’t go away quietly. Best Virginia was just one point from the win, leading 68-59, but Magee led Showtime on an 8-0 sprint, and it had the ball, trailing 68-67, just two points from the target score of 69 and a remarkable, come-from-behind victory. Best Virginia’s defense stepped up at the key moment, though. Staten came away with a steal, dished the ball ahead to Tarik Phillip, who fed Jones for the layup and the Best Virginia triumph.

Besides Jones’ double-double, Best Virginia also got 15 points from Flowers and 11 from Phillip, who also pulled down 10 rebounds. WoCo was led by Magee, who had 21 points while making 5 of 7 3-point shots.

BV will look to build off the things it did well in the first game of the TBT, as it moves into Monday’s second round.

“We’re going just to try to play our game,” noted Long. “We may make a couple of tweaks, but I like what we do and I like what we have against anybody. We’re going to try to be the best version of ourselves. We have to embrace that.”