How about a game-winner to spice up a Friday afternoon? The Basketball Tournament is still fun, even if it can get lost in the world of sports #content out there. If you like hoop, and also like to play Lets Remember Some Guys, TBT is for you.
The North Texas Alumni team showed up and escaped against Eberlein Drive, a talented team that had been together and was favored to win this thing. Anything can happen in a single elimination game, including not blocking out and not getting a shot off (Ahem, Eberlein Drive let a guard fly in for his own rebound).
North Texas Bleed Green showed some resilience and scraped back into the game late through some wonderment from Shannon Shorter. Yes, you might remember the name. We last discussed him as a NT hooper back in the day.
It was strange to see him, an older, experienced version, get a screen from Zach Simmons and pass the ball to Thomas Bell. We saw some classic Thomas Bell moments, as well. He got a big block on one end, and got a bucket and drew a foul on the other. What you won’t see on the highlight reel of the game-winner was that the play before Eberlein Drive had a chance to win it. Shaq Buchanan sized up our guy Bell, and tried to draw a foul like he did the previous play (questionable). Bell stood him up, Bleed Green got the rebound (after a little scrum) and came up with the final two shots.
Jordan Stevens, and Brandon Jefferson — the two dudes who combined for that final sequence, combined for 7-17 from distance.
The Drive are a good squad, with a couple of guys who have seen NBA time. Omari Spellman was roughing up Zach Simmons for a bit, and Bleed Green had some struggles as they tried to find their rhythm. Shorter took over in the second as BG found shooting and openings in the pick and roll game. They got it to within 4 at the Elam Ending marker at 4-minutes. After that, it was about getting buckets. The good guys got buckets, and Eberlein Drive looked a little shook. Drive got back into it, including getting back up 76-78 after the Shaq foul.
Bleed Green missed a potential game-winner, and then the final sequence that saw the Green defend (huge stop) without fouling and get the winner on the other end.
All in all, Bleed Green had the classic recipe for an upset: One guy going off, good shooting, and timely defense and toughness.
The next game is against the winner of Purple and Black (K-State alumni) and Lone Star Legends. The K-State squad has Jacob Pullen, and that means if they win the next matchup will be a rematch of the NCAA 2010 first round game that saw NT take on K-State. Both Shannon Shorter and Pullen played in that game.
I am not quite sure what happened with Ryan Woolridge, as he was in some pictures from practice this week, but was not in Kansas for the game. Given each team is responsible for getting a full slate of players out there, it is possible there was simply a scheduling issue. A factor in the tournament is the availability of players, who are essentially volunteering their time in the hope for some prize money/pride/or both.
Next up: Winner of Purple and Black/Lone Star Legends Saturday 5pm CDT on ESPN3