Basketball is back, and Big X is going to see another game.
In the return of the first live basketball action on TV since March, Big X squeezed past D2, 79-74, in the first round of The Basketball Tournament on Saturday at Nationwide Arena.
After trailing D2 for more than 25 minutes out of the first 27 minutes through three quarters, Big X turned a 59-57 third-quarter deficit into a 64-61 lead to start the fourth period punctuated by Trévon Hughes' 3-pointer.
Back-to-back dunks by Nick Ward gave Big X a 70-69 lead, and that was the score when the Elam Ending was put into effect with a target score of 78 points.
The Elam Ending turns the game clock off when there are less than four minutes left in the final quarter and puts out a target score. The target score adds eight points to the leading team's score, and the first team to the target score wins.
Former Buckeye guard CJ Jackson's deep jumper was followed up by a 3-pointer by Hughes for a 75-71 advantage. A pair of free throws from Javon Bess then set up the game winner from Jackson.
After missing his first attempt on a floater in the lane, Jackson corralled his own rebound and pushed up a second floater through the bottom of the bucket to close it out.
Ward put up a team-high 18 points on 7-of-13 shooting for Big X, while Kevin Capers poured in a game-high 25 points for D2. Mike Davis (13 points for D2) and Javon Bess (11 points for Big X) were the game's other top scorers.
Despite coming in as the No. 9-seeded favorites over No. 24 seed D2, a replacement team called upon three days prior to the start of TBT, Big X came out cold.
Big X took a 1-0 lead with a little less than nine minutes to play, but after starting off shooting 13 percent deep into the first quarter, Big X trailed 23-9 at the close of the first quarter. The group responded, however, with an 11-1 run in the middle of the second period, punctuated by Kellen Dunham's top-of-the-key 3-pointer to cut the margin to 28-24, and D2 eventually extended its lead to 36-30 at the break.
Big X did not take its second lead of the game until the four-minute mark of the third quarter, which came via a one-handed laser pass from Jackson for a Ward transition bucket for a 46-45 advantage.
D2 quickly responded, however, taking the lead back moments later on a Mike Davis jumper, and it held a 59-57 lead at the end of the third period following a Kellen Dunham rainbow 3-pointer from the corner to kickstart the final rally.
A matchup of Ohio-based teams awaits in the second round, as Big X will play No. 8 seed Red Scare at 2 p.m. Wednesday on ESPN.
Red Scare features mostly University of Dayton alumni, including former Flyers stars Kyle Davis, Darrell Davis, Trey Landers and Devin Oliver, plus former Buckeye center Trevor Thompson.