Team Ram Nation fought hard and battled back to a late lead before a few costly turnovers coupled with big plays from the TBT defending champs, Overseas Elite, ended the group of VCU alumni’s first run in The Basketball Tournament, 91-80.
Ram Nation out-shot the champs from the field, connecting on 44.8% of their attempts (and 44.8% from three) compared to 42.5% from Elite (34.6%), but due to a 47-33 rebound disparity and 19 second-chance points, could not pull off the win.
Ram Nation was without team commit Larry Sanders for the entirety of the tournament. Sanders averaged 9.1 rebounds as a junior at VCU before being drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks in the 2010 NBA Draft.
Darius Theus led Ram Nation in scoring for the second straight game, posting a team-high 21 points after 27 in a round of 32 win over Kings of the South. Theus added a game-high five assists and was 6-9 from the field on the night.
B.A. Walker chipped in 18 of his own on 7-9 shooting. Walker’s former VCU teammate, Michael Anderson, added 12 points for the Rams and a team-high six rebounds. Anderson hit four of his six shots including a 2-3 night from distance.
Bradford Burgess rounded out the group of double-digit scorers for the Rams, posting 17 points to finish his TBT run with a 18.7 ppg average over his three contests, just shy of Theus’ 19.3 team-leading average.
The Rams lost the game but were one of the big winners in terms of fan support in this year’s tournament, boasting some of the largest groups in the regional rounds, this time including a VCU pep band that made the trip up 95 North with former pep band leader, Ryan Kopacsi.
Overseas Elite will advanced to the South Region final to take on 8th-seeded Trained to Go. The winner will punch an automatic ticket into next year’s tournament after earning a spot into this year’s semifinal round.
Ram Nation will attempt to make a return to the tournament next year and has already received interest from former players like Eric Maynor, Juvonte Reddic and Jamal Shuler, as well as players VCU has crossed paths with from other TBT teams as well.