Day two of The Basketball Tournament’s Super 16 in Brooklyn was a star-studded event on and off the court. On the court, there were many former NBA players including Larry Sanders, Eric Maynor, Reggie Williams (All with Ram Nation), former San Antonio Spur DeJuan Blair (Overseas Elite), and many St. Johns greats Justin Burrell, Paris Horne, and DJ Kennedy. Off the court, CJ McCollum and his teammate Noah Vonleh came by to support CJ’s brother Errick McCollum and New York Knicks guard Tim Hardaway Jr. also took in tonight’s doubleheader.
Game one’s matchup was between 2 seed Ram Nation which is a group of Virginia Commonwealth University Alums (VCU) against 14 seed NC Prodigal Sons who have played very well for a team with no notable NBA or College basketball standouts. Prodigal Sons were able to stick around in the first half forcing Ram Nation into 7 turnovers, while also shooting 50% from the field. But Ram Nation would take the lead heading into the half behind 60% shooting from the field and 50% from three-point range.
In the second half, Ram Nation seemed to be fueled by their great fan base that made the trip helping them be more intense on defense leading to easy baskets.
“Our VCU fans travel everywhere especially to NYC, it’s fun to play in front of them. We are College guys so once we are done you don’t ever think you’ll play in front of fans like that,” said Coach Joey Rodriguez. “The fans they travel well, so that’s pretty much what he told us, in the beginning, let’s get out with some energy and our fans will be behind us,” said Maynor.
Reggie Williams seemed to get going in the second half scoring ten points on 50% shooting. Eric Maynor did a great job of running the offense finding the open man and creating for others helping lead Ram Nation to a 79-64 win over Prodigal Sons
“We just have to defend and rebound. We are going to score points, we got a lot of guys that can really score and we were able to get some shots to go down in the second half,” said Maynor. “It feels good to be out there with Larry (Sanders) and now he’s telling us like College days let guys come to him don’t foul cause he’s back there.”
Game Two was an uneven match-up between the stacked 1 seed Overseas Elite against the 5 seed Tampa Bulls. Overseas Elite are the back-to-back champions of The Basketball Tournament and the roster they have put together for this year makes them the favorite for a three-peat.
They have many collegiate standouts’ like DeAndre Kane (Iowa State University), the three St. Johns Alums previously mentioned, Travis Bader (Oakland University) and DeJuan Blair. On the other side, Tampa Bulls is a team of University of South Florida Alums who are making their first appearance in The Basketball Tournament. Led by USF great Dominique Jones the Bulls were able to make it to the Super 16 in their first year.
The first half was tightly contested to start with both teams trading baskets for the first 5 minutes of the game. But the Overseas Elite would turn up the pressure on defense forcing the Bulls into 11 first half turnovers. Also, Kyle Fogg, the guard out of the University of Arizona was on fire in the first half scoring 15 of his 19 points.
“My teammates did a good job of getting me the ball in easy positions and you have to help off, so I am getting open looks. Nobody can really guard these guys one on one so for me it’s easy to knock down the shot when they give me the ball,” said Fogg.
Overseas Elite would come into the second half with a commanding 14-point lead, but Dominique Jones (26 points) was not going to go down without a fight. He came out determined in the second half attacking the basket getting to the free throw line and bringing his team with in two points of the Elite.
It just was not enough as the Elite would ratchet up their defense tiring out Jones and forcing others to make plays. DeAndre Kane (10points) and Errick McCollum II (14 points) both did a great job of leading the offense and pushing the tempo to help Overseas Elite cruise to an 84- 76 victory over the Tampa Bulls.
“We started DeAndre Kane in this game over Oliver Lafayette, just cause two weeks ago in Charlotte we kept getting off to slow starts but when Kane went in there he changed the game defensively,” said Coach Colin Curtin
Tonight’s win sets up a rematch of last years Super 16 match-up between defending champs Overseas Elite against Ram Nation. Ram Nation stuck around after their game to watch and prepare for Sunday’s game. Overseas Elite is confident and ready for all challengers.
“Really good team they are going to be really hungry with us beating them last year they are going to come out hungry but that’s thing, that’s nothing different from any of these other teams, we have a huge bull’s eye on our backs,” said Coach Curtin.
Tomorrow Afternoon (12pm-6pm) the final games of the Super 16 round take place with many Notable players including former New York Knick guard Chris Copeland with 1 seed Colorado.