With the opening-round pleasantries out of the way, Carmen’s Crew can look forward to a few familiar faces in the second round of The Basketball Tournament.
After an 88-71 win over Illinois BC at Capital University on Friday night, a team coached by a former Ohio State basketball player and featuring two former players in Big X will be the marquee matchup Saturday afternoon.Join the conversation at Facebook.com/BuckeyeXtra and connect with us on Twitter @BuckeyeXtra
David Lighty led a balanced offense with 17 points and William Buford added 16.
Four former Buckeyes started for Carmen’s Crew: Aaron Craft, Evan Ravenel , David Lighty and Buford. The loudest pregame applause went to Craft, with Lighty finishing a close second. Jon Diebler and Ross came off the bench, the latter watched by brother and assistant Ohio State coach Jake Diebler as well as a contingent of fans from his hometown of Upper Sandusky.
The game got underway as many of the Ohio State-clan fans expected: a Craft steal, helping to set a defensive tone. Illinois BC kept it close during the first quarter and was within one with 1:18 to play before two former Buckeyes helped close the quarter with a flourish.
First, Ross blew past a defender for an acrobatic finish at the rim. Then Diebler drew a foul on the defensive end and made two free throws, pushing it to 21-16 lead. And when Illinois BC missed an attempt in the final seconds, Lighty pushed it upcourt and made a three-pointer from straight-on as time expired while being fouled. He made the free throw, setting the lead at 25-16 and capping an 8-0 run.
At the half, it was a 49-33 lead with Buford and Lighty leading all scorers at 11 points apiece. Illinois BC pulled within single digits just once and only briefly during the second half, and after the Carmen’s Crew lead was trimmed to 71-62 with 8:10 to play it responded with a 7-0 run to push it back out of reach for good.
Buford closed the game with a basket on a goaltending call, giving Carmen’s Crew the 88 points it needed as part of the Elam Ending. It came after a quick four-point outburst from Craft, who scored on a fast break, stole the inbounds pass and laid it in.
They were coached by former Ohio State center Jared Sullinger, who will miss Saturday’s game to be in a wedding and will be replaced by fellow alumnus Dallas Lauderdale. They will face a Big X team led by Andrew Dakich and featuring C.J. Jackson and Keyshawn Woods.
Former Buckeyes Keita Bates-Diop and Trevor Thompson were spotted before the game, as was the majority of the current Ohio State team and Ohio coach and former Ohio State assistant Jeff Boals.