After a big win over a familiar opponent, Ram Nation enters unfamiliar TBT territory in advancing to this year’s Elite 8 round of The Basketball Tournament.
The group of mostly VCU alumni took on a NC Prodigal Sons team in this year’s “Super 16” after having rallied from a 20-point deficit in 2016 to oust the Sons from last year’s tournament, once again coming up victorious. This year it came without the heart palpitations however, as Ram Nation controlled the game from start to finish, turning a six-point halftime lead into a 79-64 win.
The black and gold’s depth shown supreme, with 10 players scoring on the night led by Reggie Williams’ 14 points in just 22 minutes of action. Williams was joined by Jamie Skeen in the double-digit club with another impressive TBT performance, scoring 13 points on 50% shooting in just 19 minutes on the night.
Jamal Shuler added 10 point for Ram Nation while four others scored at least eight points in the win.
Eric Maynor was one of the four, scoring eight points while dishing a game-high 8 assists.
Ram Nation newcomer Justin Tuoyo joined the team for this round and notched a quick nine points in just 13 minutes of action. Tuoyo was not on the roster for the team’s previous two wins but was able to join Ram Nation in Brooklyn thanks to Ram fans raising the $3,000 needed for the team to add a player at this point in the tournament.
Tuoyo’s paint presence was a part of a major theme of the night, as Ram Nation scored 42 points in the paint while shooting just under 55% inside the arc.
Ram Nation got 28 points off the bench to NCPS’s eight and were able to wear the underdog down, holding the Sons to just 26 points in the second half.
The win sets up Ram Nation for a rematch with the team that knocked the black and gold out of last year’s TBT, an Overseas Elite team that is now a perfect 16-0 in two years of tournament play and is looking to defend back-to-back championships.