It wasn’t pretty, and it wasn’t clean, but a hook shot from Kevin Jones sent Best Virginia to the TBT Quarterfinals on Wednesday night.
During the same week he was selected to be a new member of the WVU Sports Hall of Fame, Kevin Jones sent West Virginia University’s alumni basketball team to the quarterfinals with his heroics.
With both teams tied at 55 apiece, it would be the first team to score 63 points that would advance to Dayton, Ohio, for a chance to win $1 million. Best Virginia started the chase to 63 points off strong, going on a 6-0 run, with Jones scoring three of those points.
Bucketneers — an alumni team of East Tennessee State University would storm back after Best Virginia’s Jamel Morris had consecutive chances to end the game. Bucketneers would go on a 7-0 run of their own, sending the game to next basket wins.
After Juwan Staten almost lost his dribble out of bounds, he was able to find Jones who shot a hook over his right shoulder which sank the Bucketneers and gave Best Virginia the West Virginia Regional title.
After both teams’ scores reached above 80 in their victories yesterday, it was a slugfest from Charleston, West Virginia. In the first half, it was the Desonta Bradford show. Bradford, would score 16 points in the first half, making four three-pointers, and helping limit Best Virginia’s early damage.
Best Virginia would turn the ball over early and often, doing it 11 times in the first half, and 19 total times on the evening. Best Virginia had 10 players score points in the first half, and led 33-26 at the half.
In the third quarter, Bradford would hit his fifth three-pointer of the evening, followed by a dunk and a three-pointer for the Bucketneers, giving them a 34-33 lead. Staten would score the next two baskets for Best Virginia, but Bucketneers 43-39 lead with 3:41 to play in the third quarter. A late 6-0 run by Best Virginia would give the former Mountaineers a one-point lead heading into the fourth quarter.
In the fourth, it was a back-and-forth affair. Neither team led by more than three points until Best Virginia called a timeout with the score tied at 55 to initiate the Elam Ending. Out of the timeout, Jones would make one of two free throws on Best Virginia’s first possession. Jones would then score another basket after the Bucketneers were careless with the basketball. Another Bucketneers turnover led to a fastbreak three-pointer from the top of the key to put Best Virginia on the brink. Morris would have the chance to end things on the very next possession, missing two shots in a row after getting his own miss.
Bucketneers would capitalize, hitting two free throws, and then getting consecutive stops leading to a three-pointer and then a putback layup after a three-point miss which would have ended the game.
Then with the game down to one possession, the man who is going to be in the WVU Sports Hall of Fame, capped up his clutch fourth quarter, scoring the final two points and sending Best Virginia to the final weekend of TBT 2022.
Photo by Ben Solomon, TBT