Carmen's Crew Blows 18-Point Lead, Falls to The Money Team in Third Round of The Basketball Tournament, 91-89

By Dan Hope on July 27, 2021 at 10:58 pm
The Money Team defeats Carmen's Crew
Ben Solomon/TBT

Carmen's Crew's run in The Basketball Tournament came to a stunning end on Tuesday night.

After leading by as many as 18 points in the third quarter, Carmen's Crew was outscored 27-13 in the fourth quarter to fall to The Money Team, 91-89, in third-round action at the Covelli Center.

Tuesday's game got off to a much more lively start than Carmen's Crew's second-round win over Men of Mackey, as the host team scored more points in Tuesday's first quarter (31) than Sunday's entire first half (29). Carmen's Crew finished the first quarter with a 31-21 lead after making 12 of its first 16 shots of the game, with William Buford scoring 10 points in the game's first six minutes.

Carmen's Crew took a 50-38 lead into halftime after David Lighty closed out the second quarter with a 3-pointer just before the buzzer. Ten different players scored for Carmen's Crew in the first half, led by 12 points from Buford and 10 from Kosta Koufos.

Both teams scored exactly 26 points in the third quarter, which Carmen's Crew ended with a 76-64 lead. However, The Money Team started the fourth quarter on a 14-7 run to cut Carmen's Crew lead to five points, 83-78, going into the Elam Ending portion of the game. The Money Team scored the next five points, too, to tie the game at 83-all with the target score set at 91.

With the game tied at 89, Floyd Mayweather's squad ultimately landed the knockout blow when Xavier Munford – who led all scorers with 22 points – hit a game-winning two-point jumper, snuffing out Carmen's Crew's hopes of winning $1 million.

Although the former Buckeyes were disappointed about how the game ultimately unfolded, they kept the loss in perspective. While Carmen's Crew wasn't able to win another TBT title, as it did in 2019, it still advanced further than last year, when it was upset by Illinois alumni team House of ’Paign in the first round.

“We felt we let one get away, but what are you gonna do?” Jon Diebler said after the game. “You gotta tip your hat to them. They hit some big shots. They came back. A lot of teams would have quit being down what they were down, and they kept playing. That's the beauty of the TBT.

“We've experienced the high of highs in this tournament and also the low of lows in the first round, so we've been there.”

Koufos led Carmen's Crew with 18 points. Buford, who left the game with a foot/ankle injury in the third quarter and did not return, finished the game with 15 points, while Lighty finished the game with 14.

Game Notes

  • Carmen's Crew used the same starting lineup as it did in both of its first two games: Koufos, Buford, Jeff Gibbs, Lighty and Shannon Scott.
  • After wearing white uniforms for its first two games of TBT, Carmen's Crew wore black uniforms – similar to the anthracite alternates that Ohio State wore last season – on Tuesday.
  • Many current and former Ohio State basketball coaches and players were in attendance to watch Carmen's Crew on Tuesday night, including current coaches Chris Holtmann and Jake Diebler, former assistant coach (and current Ohio University coach) Jeff Boals, former point guard (and current Utah Jazz point guard) Mike Conley and current players Zed Key, Meechie Johnson, Kyle Young and Eugene Brown.
  • Diebler and Aaron Craft both said after the game that they were moving on from basketball and do not plan to play in next year's TBT, though they hope the team will continue on without them.
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