No. 1 Carmen’s Crew downs No. 8 Men of Mackey 80-69, earns spot in third round of TBT

The Lantern
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Carmen’s Crew guard William Buford attempts a shot against Men of Mackey Jul 25. Carmen’s Crew won 80-69. Credit: Courtesy of Ben Solomon

In what started out as a defensive slog, Carmen’s Crew was able to earn a spot in the third round of The Basketball Tournament with an 80-69 win over Men of Mackey.

Reminiscent of a typical Ohio State-Purdue matchup in terms of style of play, Carmen’s Crew rode its defense to a big win over the Purdue alumni squad at the Covelli Center Sunday as its offense found its stroke in the second half.

“It was a physical Big Ten basketball game so I think it was fun,” Carmen’s Crew forward Jon Diebler said. “That’s how both teams played, that’s how we played in college.”

Both offenses struggled to find a rhythm in the game’s early goings as both teams shot a combined 10-29 in the first quarter.

Carmen’s Crew’s early offensive issues stemmed from its struggles from 3-point range, where it connected on just one of its nine attempts in the first quarter. But the Ohio State alumni squad dominated inside, outscoring Men of Mackey 20-6 in the paint in the first half.

But, Carmen’s Crew’s defense carried it throughout Sunday’s contest as it forced 12 turnovers and held Men of Mackey to 36 percent from the field.

In the second half, former Buckeye guard William Buford and Men of Mackey guard Robbie Hummel battled as both found their stroke coming out of the locker room. Buford dropped 14 of his team-high 19 points in the second half, while Hummel added 12 of his total 17 points in the final two frames.

Men of Mackey guard Kelsey Barlow dropped all 18 of his team-high points in the second half.

Buford and former Buckeye guard Jon Diebler paced Carmen’s Crew to a 15-5 run to close the third quarter and push its lead to 15 going into the final frame — a lead it would not relinquish.

“I feel in the first half we were getting great shots, we just weren’t hitting them,” Buford said. “Everybody was encouraging each other at halftime and in the third quarter to keep shooting your shots and we kept hitting them.”

Buford and Hummel’s third-quarter shootout turned the tide of the game from one that was much slower and defensive focused to a fast-paced offensive battle in the second half.

Despite being undersized on the interior and battling with Men of Mackey 7-foot-2 center Isaac Haas, Carmen’s Crew staked out a 38-26 advantage in points in the paint.

The Ohio State alumni squad’s interior assault was led by Jeff Gibbs as he dropped nine points on 4-of-6 shooting to lead all scorers heading into halftime. Gibbs finished with 11 points on 4-8 from the field.

“Gibbs is huge. I mean that literally and figuratively,” head coach Jared Sullinger said. “He’s a guy we like to go to, we’re not afraid to go to him.”

Evan Ravenel and Julian Mavunga also put up strong numbers from the interior for Carmen’s Crew, combining for 19 points on 7-of-13 shooting.

Carmen’s Crew will play the winner of The Money Team vs. Team Hines Tuesday at 9 p.m. on ESPN.

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