Ohio State never quite managed an NCAA title during the Thad Matta era, but a collection of alumni claimed a tournament title of a different kind – along with a pretty substantial cash prize.
Carmen's Crew – made up primarily of various Matta-era Buckeye alums – claimed The Basketball Tournament championship and its $2 million cash prize on Tuesday night, downing the Marquette Alumni team Golden Eagles, 66-60.
With the win, Carmen's Crew becomes the first new TBT champion in four years, unseating four-time reigning champion Overseas Elite, who they dealt their first-ever loss in Sunday's semifinals.
As they did all tournament, William Buford and David Lighty led the way for Carmen's Crew offensively, scoring 17 and 14 respectively. Both shot 5-11 from the floor and 2-3 from three with Buford hitting three more free throws than Lighty.
Jon Diebler and Otterbein alum Jeff Gibbs each reached double digits as well, with Diebler shooting a red hot 4-5 from the floor and 3-4 from three before a first-half finger injury seemingly slowed his production – but didn't keep him out of the game.
Vintage Jon Diebler. pic.twitter.com/GmVxFk3rzU— Eleven Warriors (@11W) August 7, 2019
Carmen's Crew played stingy defense early, holding the high-scoring Golden Eagles to just 30 percent shooting from the floor and 14.3 percent from three in the first quarter. William Buford led the way scoring with five first-quarter points to give Carmen's Crew a 16-8 lead after one quarter.
The Golden Eagles offense came alive and stormed back in the second, using an 11-2 run to bring the score to 22-21 midway through the quarter and ultimately claiming a 31-29 lead at the half.
The second half was as close as can be for the duration of the game. No team led by more than one score the entire half as the two teams traded buckets and defensive stops until the Elam Ending target score was set at 66 points with Carmen's Crew holding a 58-57 lead.
The Golden Eagles got a steal and a quick 3-pointer to take a 60-58 lead, but Carmen's Crew scored the next eight points – capped off by two William Buford free throws – to seal the victory.
CLUTCH. AS. HELL. pic.twitter.com/lA6mukq9r6— Eleven Warriors (@11W) August 7, 2019
With the win, Carmen's Crew claims the TBT's winner-take-all, $2 million cash prize, which will be dispersed among the team.