Friday, August 2, 2019

Green’s five takeaways from Friday’s TBT quarterfinal action

Photo Credit: Geno Green

By: Geno Green
Twitter: @TheGenoGreen

While the annual Lollapalooza festival dominated the scene outside at Grant Park, inside featured compelling action in the second wave of The Basketball Tournament quarterfinal games at Wintrust Arena on Friday night. Here are my five takeaways for CSO.

1) Overseas still elite:

Despite an early 13-2 deficit, Overseas Elite proved once more why they are the reigning four-time defending TBT champs as they showed grit and determination throughout the game in an 86-73 win over Loyalty is Love in the quarterfinal round to move to an unprecedented 29-0 record all-time.

As the Elam Ending drew closer in the fourth quarter, Loyalty is Love appeared to be making a run to cut the deficit to a one-possession contest until DeAndre Kane swiped the ball away from Demps and put the ball up on the other end to go up 76-70. A pair of free throw makes from D.J. Kennedy before the start of the ending virtually put the game on ice for Overseas Elite.

Kane led the way for Overseas Elite with 18 points, on 7-of-11 from the field and 4-for-7 from long range. While Kennedy is used to getting most of the scoring looks for Overseas Elite, the TBT veteran knew without Kane’s contributions late, the result might have been different.

“We needed DeAndre to step up and he definitely did,” Kennedy said. “By taking advantage of the mismatches, that really took [Loyalty is Love’s] confidence away and the steal put the stamp on things.”

2) Pargo’s homecoming:

While Jeremy Pargo has made a name for himself overseas, his roots remain entrenched with the city of Chicago as he played high school at Paul Robeson and spent parts of three seasons in the NBA.

Pargo’s clutch shooting in big moments has become a regular thing in TBT and Friday’s game proved to be no different as he called game and delivered the walk-off three-point make from the wing to highlight a 15-point outing. In a move more familiar in a football setting, Pargo ran off the court into the locker room in excitement.

“The possession before the free throw, he said game over and made the same shot from the same spot last game,” Kennedy said. “That’s the guy you don’t want to have the ball with because he loves big shots and for him to be home, it means a lot for him because he wanted that walk-off basket.”

3) Coleman delivered in the Puma Slam Dunk Contest:

Bluff City (Memphis) forward Will Coleman delivered a brutal posterization in the final round on eventual runner-up Khalil Iverson from Kohl Blooded (Wisconsin) to win the Puma Slam Dunk Contest and took home $40,000.

4) Team Hines cruises in style:

With Greek League MVP Nick Calathes back overseas to play for the Greece national team, Team Hines did not lose a beat as Kyle Hines led the way with 18 points in an 88-75 win over Brotherly Love.

19 of Team Hines’ 29 field goals came off assists and is a credit to their ability to adapt on the fly, especially Mike James’ nine dishes.

“You can’t key in one guy,” Team Hines guard Darius Adams said. “We have a bench full of players, so everybody took advantage of their opportunities and once you think you have us figured out, then someone else steps up.”

Hines gave credit to James for overcoming a 2-for-15 effort from the field to make an impact in another facet of the game.

“Big credit to Mike James. He didn’t shoot the ball like he normally does, but he showed that he can get everyone else involved on offense,” Hines said.

5) Semifinal Sunday Funday:

Sunday’s semifinal games should present a bevy of storylines as Carmen’s Crew looks to make its first-ever TBT championship game, but will have a monumental task to get there with Overseas Elite standing in the way.

Carmen’s Crew survived a late run from Eberlein Drive in Thursday’s 79-71 quarterfinal win as five players finished in double figures scoring, highlighted by Demetri McCamey’s four three-point makes.

The second semifinal pits the Marquette Golden Eagles Alumni against first-time TBT squad Team Hines. The Golden Eagles also look to punch their first-ever ticket to the title game and 
cruised with a 79-62 win over Jackson TN on Thursday behind a 26-point performance from Jamil Wilson.

Sunday’s games start at 11 a.m. CT and both games will be telecasted on ESPN.