Carmen's Crew is moving on to the third round of The Basketball Tournament.
In a battle of Big Ten alumni teams, the team composed largely of former Ohio State players defeated Purdue alumni team Men of Mackey, 80-69, at the Covelli Center on Sunday afternoon.
Watch the Game Highlights from Carmens Crew vs. Men of Mackey, 07/25/2021 pic.twitter.com/eJKCnpiBBn— TBT (@thetournament) July 25, 2021
Carmen's Crew got out to a slow start offensively, making just three of its first 16 shots of the game, but still finished the first quarter with a 13-9 lead following a 6-0 run to end the quarter. The second quarter played out in similar fashion, but Carmen's Crew scored 10 points in the final 1:27 of the first half – including a buzzer-beater 3-pointer by Jeff Gibbs, who scored Carmen's Crew's final seven points of the half – to take a 29-21 lead into the break.
“He's huge for us,” Carmen's Crew head coach Jared Sullinger said after the game about Gibbs, an Otterbein alumnus. “He's a guy that we like to go to.”
The offensive pace picked up for both teams in the third quarter. Robbie Hummel scored 10 third-quarter points for Men of Mackey, but William Buford scored 11 third-quarter points and Jon Diebler made three 3-pointers for Carmen's Crew to help the host team extend its lead to 14 points, 60-46, entering the fourth quarter.
“I feel in the first half, we were getting great shots, we just wasn't hitting them,” Buford said after the game. “Everybody was encouraging everybody at halftime to come out in the third quarter and keep shooting your shots, and we kept shooting them. Those are the shots we was getting in the first half, we just happened to knock them down in the second half.”
The game's target score was set at 80 after Carmen's Crew took a 72-59 lead into the game's final four minutes. Julian Mavunga sealed the 80-69 win with a free throw after a foul by Isaac Haas.
Buford led all scorers with 19 points, while Gibbs (11) and Evan Ravenel (10) also scored in double digits for Carmen's Crew. Kelsey Barlow had 18 points and Hummel had 17 points to lead Men of Mackey.
For the game as a whole, Carmen's Crew shot 48% from the field (30-of-63) while Men of Mackey shot 36% (24-of-67). Carmen's Crew outscored Men of Mackey in the paint, 38-26, though Men of Mackey outrebounded Carmen's Crew 42-38.
“That was a physical Big Ten basketball game,” Diebler said. “It was a lot of fun. We got a lot of respect for those guys.”
Carmen's Crew will be back at the Covelli Center for its third-round game on Tuesday at 9 p.m., when it will play The Money Team – whose GM is boxing legend Floyd Mayweather Jr. – for a chance to make the quarterfinals. That game will be televised on ESPN.
With two wins now under their belts, Carmen's Crew – who won TBT in 2019 before losing in the first round last year – is confident in its chances of making a deep TBT run.
“Our group of guys are really honing in on the game plan and understanding what we need to do to win $1 million,” Sullinger said.
- Carmen's Crew started the same five players as it did in its first-round TBT win over Mid American Unity: Gibbs, Buford, Kosta Koufos, David Lighty and Shannon Scott.
- Carmen's Crew wore warmup shirts emblazoned with the year 1968, which Homage made for Carmen's Crew to pay tribute to “a traumatic, transformational and consequential year in American history,” when Martin Luther King Jr. was killed.
- Aaron Craft scored two points and had two assists in 10 minutes off the bench.