Trailing by two, with the Golden Eagles six points away from the TBT championship, Carmen's Crew stepped on the gas. The team predominately made up of Thad Matta era Basketball Buckeyes closed the game with an 8-0 run, winning the title 66-60 and walking away with the $2 million dollar prize. William Buford, named MVP of the tournament, sealed the win by calmly nailing two free-throws but perhaps the biggest play of the game came moments earlier. With Carmen's Crew leading 62-60, the Golden Eagles (the Marquette alumni team) had possession with a chance to tie or take the lead when Jon Diebler stepped in the passing lane, coming away with a steal and lay up to make it 64-60. It was the first two possession lead for either team in the second half and set up Buford's clinching free throws.
David Lighty led Carmen's Crew with 17 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists (but somehow didn't make the TBT all tournament team), Buford scored 14, with Diebler and East High School and Otterbein product Jeff Gibbs both scoring 11. Buford and Aaron Craft, who played smothering defense and also had a key steal in the late stages, were named to the all-tournament team. The highlights, post-game celebrations and interviews are posted below.
On a side note, in nearly 30 years of covering Ohio State sports, Thad Matta's teams, especially from 2010 to 2013, were my favorite to cover. Yes--they were fun because they were good, but in addition to being great basketball players, they were (and are) great guys who represent Ohio State well. At OSU, they were as good as anyone during that stretch but we didn't get to see them celebrate a national title. That's why it was cool to see coaches Jared Sullinger, Evan Turner and Dallas Lauderdale--and players David Lighty, William Buford, Aaron Craft, Jon Diebler, Evan Ravenell and LaQuinton Ross get to celebrate together. What an era it was. Congrats to those guys--and to the non-Buckeyes who helped Carmen's Crew win it all.