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The Basketball Tournament 2021 Viewing Guide: July 21

The West Virginia Regional wraps up with two final games to send the winners on to Dayton and the quarterfinals.

Taiwan Beer v Yulon Luxgen Dinos - SBL Finals Game 6
Can Marcus Keene keep it going tonight?
Photo by Gene Wang/Getty Images

Today’s TBT action is the final day of action in the West Virginia regional. I have some advice for the teams playing today: Don’t do what Challenge ALS did yesterday and sell out to shoot a three to win the Elam Ending when the other team just needs any basket to do the same thing. My goodness that ending was awful because Challenge could have tried to get a bucket and a stop and then tried to win, but nooooooooope. Multiple cracks at it thanks to the Wichita State boys just not getting it done, but Challenge just would not try to do anything but shoot a three, and AfterShocks just doubled the ball outside the arc all the way thru to prevent it.

And they lost and AfterShocks won as a result.

Here’s today’s action! All times Central, of course.

6pm: #1 Sideline Cancer vs #12 Bucketneers, ESPN3

The top seed in Charleston got here by beating Fort Wayne Champs 92-71 in the second round. The Unexpected Star Marcus Keene was great again, scoring 24 points in total for SC with 14 of them coming in the third quarter. It was only a three point game at the half, but Keene’s team was up 17 after 10 minutes went by. You will notice that Keene’s 14 points are precisely the difference in the margin there. While the points were the big stuff, Keene was great all over the place with seven rebounds and nine assists as well. Terry Larrier kicked in 15 points for the winners as well after hitting half of his six long range attempts.

The East Tennessee State Cinderella run continued in the second round as Bucketneers knocked off Armored Athlete 79-60. Desonta Bradford is now the top scorer in the tournament, at least in single game totals, as he went for 30 for the ETSU guys. Generally speaking, the team with a guy going 6-for-9 from long range is going to have a good chance to win. The game tipped in their favor when they outscored AA 29-11 in the second quarter to stake themselves to an 11 point lead at halftime and Bucketneers was able to hold them at arm’s length from there. It wasn’t just Bradford, as Tray Boyd (17 points) and Justin Tuoyo (14 points) both got into double digits as well.

8pm: #2 Best Virginia vs #6 Team 23, ESPN3

After barely escaping in the first round, the West Virginia alumni team had a much better time of things in the second round. They knocked off #7 seed D2 by a final of 63-51. It wasn’t easy, though, as they were only up four at the half and only three at the start of the fourth quarter. Best Virginia scored the first eight points of the final quarter to go up 11 on a jumper by Jamel Morris, though, and they were able to carry it home from there. Three former ‘Eers scored 11 points, but it was Kevin Jones getting 13 points that led the way for the winners, who knocked down 47% of their threes in the game.

We have been deprived of an all-West Virginia game on this half of the regional, as Team 23 knocked off #3 seed Herd That in the second round. The flip side of that is getting to celebrate Team 23 talking all kinds of smack about putting HT out of the tournament after their first round win and then successfully pulling it off. T23 never trailed in the game and led by as many as 14 at one point.... but it was only seven at the start of the fourth quarter and just two, 64-62, at the start of the Elam Ending. First to 72 wins, and a three from Dakarai Tucker had Team 23 one point away at 71-66. They couldn’t send it home, though, and Herd That mounted a comeback. A three from James Kelly and a dunk from Jacorey Williams knotted it at 71 to make it Next Basket Wins. A turnover by Walt Lemon gave Herd That a chance to win, but Williams coughed it right back and gave Craig Sword the hero’s honors.

Cover the guy catching the inbounds, y’all.

Team 23 made use of their deep roster as three guys cracked double digits, led by 15 from Raphiel Putney, but we can’t ignore seven guys contributing at least six points to the win. Lemon was one of them, and he had a team high five assists, too.