In a battle between No. 1 seeds, Carmen’s Crew, the winners of the Columbus region of The Basketball Tournament, took on Eberlein Drive in a tightly contested game at the Wintrust Arena in Chicago.
Carmen’s Crew led by as many as 23 at one point, but needed to hold off a furious rally from Eberlein down the stretch. But, Carmen’s Crew buckled down and persisted through, winning 79-71.
It was a complete team effort for the Crew. Off the bench, Demetri Mccamey led the charge. He scored 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting from the floor. From downtown Mccamey was clutch—going 4-of-6. William Buford was right behind Mccamey with 15 points behind a 7-of-12 effort.
Let’s see how this one went down.
Keith Benson won the opening tip for Eberlein Drive, and quickly drew a foul on David Lighty. After play resumed, Benson scored on a jumper to get the game’s first points.
Just 14 seconds later, William Buford connected on a bucket of his own to bring things even 2-2 in the first 50 seconds.
An Orlando Johnson layup and Jerome Randall three-pointer quickly got Eberlein Drive out to a 7-2 lead. A turnover by Buford, missed layup by Aaron Craft, and a series of misses by the Salt Lake region winners kept the score stationary for over a minute.
But Carmen’s Crew was about to awake from the floor. Jeff Gibbs netted a pair of triples, and with another Buford two, the contest was within one possession, 10-12, at the the first quarter timeout.
Jon Diebler made a three after the short break, but Eberlein Drive was doing just enough to keep their head above water. That was up until Demetri Mccamey buried two threes of his own right before the end of the quarter, one of which came at the buzzer.
Carmen’s Crew held the advantage at 20-16, and was on the cusp of running away to the semifinals. Within two minutes in the second frame, that four point lead became seven, and by the second quarter official timeout, Carmen’s Crew’s lead ballooned to 11. Everything seemed to be going right for the former Buckeye stars. Evan Ravenel made buckets, Lighty connected on free throws, Diebler and Craft made deep balls, and Mccamey was having one of his best — if not a personal best — at TBT.
Halftime brought a Carmen’s Crew lead of 43-29.
After being outscored 23-13 in the second quarter, Eberlein Drive stayed competitive in the third. DeJuan Blair and Randall were the two members who did the brunt of the scoring and rebounding for Eberlein. At one point, 15 straight points were scored between the two—making things a little interesting.
Carmen’s Crew led by as many as 23 in the third, but with 1:10 left before the conclusion of the period, the lead was only 11. Fortunately for the Crew, Mccamey uncorked another special from beyond the arc to push the lead back up to 14. Momentum was being wrestled between the two, and nearly flipped completely to Eberlein. With 1.8 seconds left in the frame, a full court inbound pass from Lighty sailed out of bounds. Eberlein got a chance to inbound and shoot the ball in Carmen Crew’s territory. However, a corner shot from Donald Sloan made contact with the side of the backboard before bouncing harmlessly to the floor.
Through three quarters of the first quarterfinal contest, Carmen’s Crew led 63-51.
Nearly 90 seconds into the fourth, Eberlein was still treading at a 14-point deficit. Showing desire to shoot from downtown, this game was still far from over. But in order to shoot threes, you have to get up the court. In one of the more nifty sequences of the game, Osiris Eldridge jaunted up the court trying to break free from Craft; however, Craft had other ideas when he was able to poke the ball away—and draw a foul on the ensuing transition two. Leading by 16 now, Carmen’s Crew compiled a hefty cushion with 7:29 in regulation.
Even the best cushions, though, can lose its comfiness.
An onslaught by Eberlein came fast and furiously. It also didn’t help that quick shots (and misses) came from Carmen’s Crew end. The lead shrunk from 16 to 14, then 11, then eight. When a timeout arrived, the lead was just six with 3:51.
Clock didn’t matter anymore, as the Elam Ending now applied. Since Carmen’s Crew had 71 points and the lead, the target score to end the game was set to 79.
Eberlein was able to close the gap to four, 75-71, but it was too little too late. A Lighty layup made it 77-71. And Gibbs buried the final two points from the free throw line—sending Carmen’s Crew to the semifinals.
Up next for Carmen’s Crew will be the winner of Overseas Elite-Loyalty is Love. The semi finals are scheduled for Aug. 4.