RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Richmond’s alumni team moved on, while the host VCU’s Ram Nation was upset during first round action of The Basketball Tournament at the Siegel Center on Friday night.
The Web put together a strong comeback and a thrilling victory in its TBT debut. The group of primarily Spider alumni found itself trailing the Green Machine (George Mason alumni) by 16 points in the first half, but clawed back. Benedictine product L.G. Gill’s dunk cut the deficit to seven late in the first half, followed by a steal and ShawnDre’ Jones three to pull The Web to within four heading into halftime.
The second half was back and forth the entire way. Green Machine held an 86-83 lead when the Elam Ending time hit, putting the target score at 94. The final stretch was once again back and forth, but with the Richmond quad up 92-91, the former Spiders opted to foul to prevent the George Mason group from connecting on a game-winning three-pointer.
On the next possession, The Web secured the win, as T.J. Cline delivered a perfect pass to a cutting Jones who put home the lay-in for the 94-93 win.
Cline led the way with a team-high 24 points and ten rebounds, followed by Jones’s 23 points. The Web shot 55 percent from the floor in the victory.
The Web will face Team DRC, which stunned host Ram Nation, 73-64. After the VCU alumni team jumped out to an early lead, the visitors climbed back and held a one point advantage after a quarter. A big second frame put Team DRC in front by a dozen at the break, 39-27.
Ram Nation would chip away in the third quarter and cut the deficit in half by the end of the frame, trailing 56-50, and would only be down three once Elam Ending time came into play. Team DRC held a 64-61 lead, setting the target score at 72.
Unfortunately for the VCU squad, the seventh seeded DRC club had one more run left in it, outscoring Ram Nation, 9-3, down the stretch to pull off the upset and send the Rams to a first round defeat.
Reggie Williams, a VMI grad who has become a Ram Nation regular, led the squad with 17 points. Justin Tuoyo chipped in 13 points. Team DRC won the battle of the boards, 38-27.
The Web and Team DRC will meet on Saturday evening at 7:00pm at the Siegel Center for second round action. Defending champion Overseas Elite and Best Virginia match-up in the other second round game.
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