On Saturday in Chicago, a team primarily comprised of Ohio State basketball alums moved within a single win of a $2 million winner-take-all top prize, as Carmen’s Crew defeated the four-time defending champions, Overseas Elite 71-66 in the semifinals of 2019’s The Basketball Tournament. The defeat is the first in Overseas Elite’s TBT history. Their record is now 29-1.
Carmen’s Crew and Overseas Elite were both No. 1 seeds in their respective regions, as were the other semifinalists, Team Hines and Golden Eagles. This is the third TBT run for the team now known as Carmen’s Crew. In 2017 — as Scarlet & Gray — they lost in double-overtime to Team Challenge ALS in the semifinals, and in 2018, they fell to Team Fredette in the quarters.
The former Buckeyes got out to a double-digit lead in the first half, but the four-time champs wold not go down without a fight, taking the lead in the fourth quarter. However, Carmen’s Crew continued to fight and moved into TBT’s finals for the first time.
The teams started quickly and intensely; both squads exchanged shots both of the basketball and physical variety. Overseas Elite’s DeAndre Kane took a shot to the head while scrambling for a loose ball, which require skin glue and a pretty big bandage to get him back on the floor.
Evan Ravenel paced the former Buckeyes early, accounting for half of Carmen’s Crew’s first 14 points. William Buford continued his hot-streak hitting a pair of triples before the under-four minute media timeout.
The stifling defense from the former Buckeyes kept the scoring under control from Overseas Elite.
After being up by double-digits multiple times during the first quarter, the period ended with a pair of dueling three-pointers. Overseas Elite’s Dominique Archie hit a straight-away triple, but as time expired, Jon Diebler hit one of his own, giving Carmen’s Crew a 24-16 lead over the defending champs heading into the second period.
To start the new quarter, the former Buckeyes missed three-straight shots, as they settled for jumpers from distance. The champs cut the lead to five, but David Lighty connected on a catch-and-shoot from beyond the arc to put Carmen’s Crew back up 27-19. Then Diebler hit his second triple, moving Carmen’s Crew to 6-for-11 (54.5%) from downtown.
With 4:30 remaining before halftime, Aaron Craft pulled off a prototypical Aaron Craft defensive manuever, throwing a stolen ball up in the air as he fell out of bounds. William Buford collected and hit a second-chance layup. The steal and score was sandwich between a pair of Craft drives, where he got around his defender and laid it in easily.
However, Overseas Elite came charging back putting up an unanswered 11 points in 1:45, including three triples from Jeremy Pargo. They cut their deficit to just 36-34, before Diebler ended the run with a three-pointer of his own.
The first half ended with a Pargo block of a Diebler transition three. However, Carmen’s Crew took a five-point lead into the locker room. The former Buckeyes went into the break up 41-36.
The Ohio State alums shot 45.5 percent (15-33) from the field in the first half, including going 7-for-16 (43.8%) from downtown. Overseas Elite was 12-for-29 (41.4%). Pargo led all scorers at halftime with 15. Buford was the top scorer for Carmen’s Crew with 10. They were the only players with double-digit points. Though the teams were competitive on the glass, Overseas Elite held a 16-10 advantage in the paint, while Carmen’s Crew was better on the break, leading 11-7.
Both teams struggled shooting after halftime. Jeff Gibbs hit a layup on the first possession for Carmen’s Crew, but the two teams combined to miss their next six attempts from the field.
The cold shooting continued for both teams through most of the quarter. At the under-four timeout, the former Bucks were up 48-41; neither team had connected from distance in the quarter yet.
That changed after Kane missed the second of two free-throws, but Justin Burrell tapped it back to XxxX Sanders who drained one from deep to cut Carmen’s Crew’s lead to 48-46. After a few sloppy possessions for both squads, Carmen’s Crew’s Demetri McCamey hit a three-pointer after Craft grabbed the rebound on a missed triple from McCamey.
This spawned a mini-run for Carmen’s Crew, which accelerated them to a 54-48 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
At the 8:00 mark in the final quarter, Burrell got Overseas Elite’s third shot of the possession to fall, and he was fouled. The subsequent free-throw cut Carmen’s Crew’s lead to a single point, 54-53. With Craft and Buford on the bench, after a Lighty jumper, Archie tied the game with a straight-on three-pointer to tie the game at 56.
Overseas Elite took their first lead of the game, 58-56, with 1:50 before Elam Ending was able to be enacted. After missing a floater in the lane, Lighty connected on two free-throws to tie the game. Then after a suspect blocking call on Ravenel, Lighty picked up the charge to give the former Buckeyes back the ball.
He then hit a long jumper to push them back in front. However, it was short-lived as Jonathan Simmons hit a long-two of his own, but was fouled by Buford. He completed the three-point play to take the one-point advantage.
However, Lighty hit a three and Pargo laid one in to tie the game at 63. After a timeout, the Elam Ending was established at 71.
It’s simple. First to 71 wins. pic.twitter.com/CMia9APhcP— Car❌en’s Crew (@CarmensCrew) August 4, 2019
After the timeout, Lighty drove the lane, and was fouled in the process. He hit both freebies to put Carmen’s Crew up 65-63. At that point, Lighty had scored all of his team’s points in the fourth quarter. That changed, after Craft stole the ball and fed Lighty. His attempted layup was blocked by Burrell, but Buford followed up with the uncontested lay-in.
After alternating possessions, Gibbs gets the ball down low and hits the turn-around and is fouled in the process. He couldn’t complete the old-fashioned three-point play, but Ravenel got the rebound. However, Carmen’s Crew couldn’t end the game.
On an Overseas Elite offensive possession, Ravenel is called for a foul, and tempers flared, resulting in double technicals on Buford and D.J. Kennedy. Kennedy hit both free-throws, the team’s first points in the Elam Ending.
With yet another chance to end the game, Carmen’s Crew couldn’t score, and Craft fouled Burrell in transition. He made one of two free-throws.
On the subsequent possession, Lighty picked up a loose ball and laid it in, ending the four-plus year run of Overseas Elite. Lighty had 13 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter.
He was one of four Carmen’s Crew players to finish in double-digits; Buford (15), Gibbs (12), Diebler (10). Pargo (17) and Archie (10) were the only Overseas Elite players to do it.
In the finals, Carmen’s Crew will take on the Golden Eagles — a team of Marquette Alums. The TBT Championship Game will take place on Tuesday, Aug. 6 at 9 p.m. EDT/8 p.m. CDT. The title game will be broadcast on ESPN.