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Best Virginia Falls in Sweet 16 After Failing To Convert Down Stretch

CHARLESTON, W. Va. – (July 21, 2021) — In the final game of the West Virginia region of the 2021 TBT, Best Virginia fell short to No. 6 Team 23 75-67, after failing to convert on late-game shots.

“I told them [in the locker room after the game], don’t take this for granted regardless of what happened today,” Best Virginia head coach James Long said. “It was a special experience to be around each other again and you’re lucky a lot of times if you see one or two teammates in the summer. We got to see each other all again and compete together.”

“Charleston was phenomenal with the Mountaineer fans,” Long added.

Nathan Adrian started off where he left off, scoring Best Virginia’s first basket. The former alumni made five threes in the first quarter all coming from Adrian, Kevin Jones, John Flowers, Teyvon Myers and Tarik Phillip.

Best Virginia’s three-point shooting and excellent defense gave them a lead heading into the second quarter.

The second quarter was all Team 23—led by Walt Lemon Jr. and Raphiael Putney—who outscored Best Virginia by 10 in the second quarter. Team 23 missed eight total shots in the first half, shooting 68 percent from the field. Team 23 took a seven-point lead heading into the locker room.

Out of the break, Team 23 was able to extend their lead into double-digits. Best Virginia didn’t let that last long at all. Jones, Phillip and Flowers went on an 11-0 run by themselves. Best Virginia used the switch of momentum to take a five-point lead into the fourth.

The former Mountaineers continued to use their momentum in the early stages of the fourth, taking an eight-point lead. Team 23 was able to go on a 9-2 run heading into the Elam Ending.

In The Basketball Tournament, the rules to ending a game are a little different than the typical game of basketball. With four minutes left in every game, the clock turns off. A target score is set in place, whoever is leading, their score is added by eight and that is the target score for both teams.

The target score was 74, with Team 23 ahead 66-65.

During the Elam Ending period, Best Virginia shot 5-of-18 and was out-scored 9-2 in the no-clock game period.

Best Virginia was provided with a lot of balanced scoring on Wednesday night. Jones led the alumni team with 14 points on 5-of-12 shooting. Other double-figure scorers included Adrian with 12, Flowers with 11 and Morris with 10.

Adrian—a Morgantown, West Virginia native—finished the game with a team-high of seven rebounds.

Team 23 will head to Dayton, OH to complete the TBT tournament with the final eight participants. The Best Virginia guys will go off and resume their professional careers.

(All Photos: Ben Soloman)

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