Best Virginia, Stress Virginia, Press Virginia — whatever you want to call them, they’re heading to Dayton, Ohio for The Basketball Tournament’s quarterfinals.
The West Virginia alumni squad overcame ball security issues and a late comeback to take down the Bucketneers 63-62 in the third round of TBT. Best Virginia takes the West Virginia Regional title after winning three straight TBT games for the first time in its history.
Unlike Best Virginia’s first two games this summer, the final result hung in the balance until Kevin Jones knocked down the final bucket. Bucketneers’ Desonta Bradford was the story of the first half, scoring 16 points to lead all scorers, but he was the only Bucketneer to find a rhythm.
Best Virginia spread its offense out among 11 of its players and managed a seven-point lead at the halftime break.
The Bucketneers claimed the lead in the first two minutes of the third quarter, bursting out of halftime with a 12-2 run. Best Virginia answered with another run of its own, ending the period on a 9-5 run to get back on top by a point entering the final quarter.
The game remained neck-and-neck right up until the start of the Elam Ending. As the clock wound down under four minutes with the score tied, Best Virginia held possession and called timeout. That set the target score at 63, with both teams sitting at 55 points.
Best Virginia started to run away with the game to start the Elam Ending, scoring six of the eight needed points right in a row. Ball security got worse, and turnovers allowed the Bucketneers to answer with a seven-point run to get within a bucket as well.
The scare came to an end when Kevin Jones finished a jump hook in the paint to give Best Virginia the win after a thrilling Elam Ending.
Turnovers were an issue for Best Virginia, as it recorded 19 in the game and fell minus-10 in the turnover margin. Bucketneers turned those 19 takeaways into 24 points.
Jones and Jamel Morris led Best Virginia with 10 points each, while Jaysean Paige recorded 10 rebounds in the contest. Bradford finished with 22 points to lead all scorers, while TJ Cromer (16) and Isaac Banks (11) each finished with double figures.
Best Virginia moves away from its home court to head to Dayton, where they will face Red Scare, a Dayton Alumni team.