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The Basketball Tournament Recap: Carmen’s Crew wins Columbus region over Red Scare, 85-71

A big second half gets Carmen’s Crew one step closer to the $2 million prize.

@CarmensCrew | Twitter

The third (and final) day of Columbus hosting the The Basketball Tournament brought about the fanfare. With a regional champion being crowned, either Carmen’s Crew (a team full of former Ohio State stars) or Red Scare (a team full of former Dayton Flyer standouts) would punch their ticket to Chicago for the quarterfinals—and be one step closer to the $2 million grand prize.

After a back and forth first half, Carmen’s Crew pulled away in the second half. Thanks to a team-leading 23-point effort from William Buford, Carmen’s Crew emerged victorious, 85-71. David Lighty pulled in the second most points on the team, ending the regional final with 18 points on 5-of-13 shooting.

Let’s take a look at how this one played out at the Capital Center.

To start things off, Evan Ravenel won the open tip. However, an Aaron Craft turnover led to Kendall Pollard scoring the first points of the game. After another Craft turnover and a missed three from Red Scare, Lighty collected Carmen’s Crew first rebound (a defensive one) and points of the contest. Uncorking a three, Carmen’s Crew had a very early 3-2 advantage.

It was also a very nice first make of the game, too.

Both teams traded scoring blows. Buford put four straight points on the board for Carmen’s Crew, while Darrell Davis strung together seven consecutive points for Red Scare. Missed shots and turnovers from Carmen’s Crew gave the Red Scare an advantage into the first official timeout; a 5-0 run put the Dayton stars up 14-9 with 3:59 remaining in the first quarter.

Another Darrell Davis three-ball put the Red Scare up eight, and for the next couple minutes, that’s where the lead stood. In the waning moments of the quarter, LaQuinton Ross made a bucket, as well as two free throws to bring the score within four. Shots were tough to come by in the final 20 seconds, as Pollard missed a dunk for Red Scare and Lighty missed a layup for Carmen’s Crew. At the conclusion of the first quarter, it was Red Scare leading 19-15.

Vee Sanford got the Red Scare’s lead back up above five, thanks to a three-pointer to begin the second quarter. However, Buford’s offense (a two-pointer and three-pointer) made things a one possession contest again with just over seven minutes remaining before halftime. For the next three minutes of game action, both teams couldn’t break away from one another. Carmen’s Crew hung within a couple points of the lead, while the Red Scare couldn’t pull away with another one of their seven or eight point leads. At the official timeout at 3:52, the Red Scare clung to a 35-33 advantage.

That lead would come to an end shortly, as Jon Diebler’s connection on a three pulled both teams even to 37-37. After missed shots from Red Scare, Lighty got Carmen’s Crew back into the lead with a layup and and free throw. With Carmen’s Crew up by three, Pollard broke through with a three-ball to even things up at 40-40 with just under 90 seconds in the half. Buford made a turnaround jumper with under a minute remaining—scoring the last basket for either side. At halftime, Carmen’s Crew held a 42-40 lead.

Through two quarters, Carmen’s Crew had more success on the inside rather than from distance. The former Buckeye stars pooled together a 10-of-17 mark from two-point range, and a rough 4-of-14 mark from three-point distance. Scoring wise, Buford carried the team with a 15-point effort through the first 18 minutes of action. Lighty wasn’t too far back with 11 points. Additionally, Lighty had one of the three blocks for Carmen’s Crew. And it was definitely a highlight.

After the frantic first minutes, Craft only had two turnovers for the whole half. And as a team, mistakes were kept to a minimum, with seven amongst all members of Carmen’s Crew.

Red Scare had a better half from distance. Darrell Davis connected on 4-of-5 attempts from three range, while the rest of the squad shot 2-of-8 from the land of three. Darrell Davis led his team with 16 points, while Sanford had nine at the intermission.

Everything changed in the third quarter, as Carmen’s Crew picked up the pace and Red Scare didn’t have an answer to the Crew’s offense. Off the bat, Ravenel knocked down a layup to put the Crew up four. Then Jeff Gibbs made a layup, as did Buford. Buford was fouled on his attempt, and went to the free throw line—where he added another point. Just like that, a four point lead expanded to nine. The lead would even reach 13, before shrinking to 11 at the official timeout. A complete team effort turned this game around in favor for Carmen’s Crew, and they were able to hold onto the momentum to the end of the quarter.

The final quarter began with Carmen’s Crew holding a 62-52 lead. Just nine minutes away from winning the region, Red Scare made a push to get within a few possessions. However, Carmen’s Crew always had an answer. With the lead at seven, a Craft three pushed the Crew back up 10 with 7:20 remaining in the contest. And from there, Carmen’s Crew not only held court, but increased their lead to 15 with just under five minutes remaining. With the Elam Endings set for 85, Carmen’s Crew had a comfortable lead, 78-61, when the time turned off. While Red Scare made another push, it was too little, too late.

Carmen’s Crew will take on the winner of the Salt Lake Region on Aug. 1. The game will take place at the Wintrust Arena in Chicago at 7 p.m. ET, and will be broadcast on ESPN. Eberlein Drive, Sons of Westwood and Team Fredette are the three top teams, respectively, coming into the Salt Lake Region. The Salt Lake Region will crown their winner on July 27.