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Christian Keeling and Primetime Players Fall in TBT

UNC alum Christian Keeling paced the Primetime Players with 25 points in the TBT first round, but it was not enough to upset Team CP3.

Basketball is back…in the form of The Basketball Tournament (TBT), which began July 4 with first round match-ups.

North Carolina alum Christian Keeling and the 20th-ranked Primetime Players squad fell 76-74 to 13th-ranked Team CP3. The Players held an 18-point first half lead but allowed CP3 to slowly work their way back before winning on the final play of the game.

TBT uses “Elam Ending” rules. For those unfamiliar, here’s how it works:

At the first stoppage of play with 4:00 or less remaining in the 4 quarter, the game clock is turned off and the first team to reach the current leading team’s score plus eight points is the winner.

In this particular game, the target score for the Elam Ending was set at 76. The Players had led 31-13 with 8:10 left in the first half, by 10 at the half, and were still up by nine points heading in to the fourth quarter. Theyeventually allowed an 11-0 run, enabling CP3 to take a 69-68 lead early in the Elam Ending.

With the scored tied at 74 and the Players in possession of the ball, Robert Turner threw an errant pass which was eventually corralled by CP3’s Codi Miller-McIntyre. He pitched ahead to CJ Harris for the breakaway dunk and the win.

Keeling led the Players with 25 points, but it was not enough to spring the upset. He continued the hot shooting that was on display for the Tar Heels in the final weeks of the college basketball season. Keeling shot 10-for-15 from the field including 5-for-7 from deep.

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2020 marks the seventh iteration of TBT, which was started in 2014 by Jonathan Magur. Due to COVID-19 concerns this year’s field features just 24 teams, the fewest number of entries in the tournament’s history.

While previous years have included multiple regional sites culminating in a separate location for the championship round, all games will be held in Columbus, Ohio this year so as to keep the teams in one area and hopefully contain any positive cases of coronoavirus. Having just 24 teams helps make the single location event format a reality.

Overseas Elite won four championships in a row (2015-18) before being upset in last year’s semifinals by eventual champion Carmen’s Crew (71-66).

Heading into the 2020 tournament, Carmen’s Crew and Overseas Elite are the top two seeds. These teams and the rest of the top eight will all have first round byes, while the other 16 teams finish first round games on July 5. The Super 16 will kick off on July 8 with the champion eventually being crowned on July 14.

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