“Let’s Go!” Some fans chanted. “Mountaineers!” Others finished, watching Best Virginia close in on a second-round The Basketball Tournament win over Team D2 Monday night at the Charleston Coliseum.
After another sluggish start for BV, entering the fourth quarter with just a 45-42 lead, a strong performance from beyond the arc for the Mountaineers led to a comfortable 63-51 victory and a trip to the quarterfinals.
WE ARE SWEET 16 BOUND‼️
Best Virginia – 63
D2 – 51 pic.twitter.com/faU93R7JgD
— Best Virginia TBT & Final Fourcast Podcast (@finalfourcast) July 20, 2021
D2 held BV in check throughout much of the first three quarters, playing stifling defense across the board, but the Mountaineers opened the fourth quarter with a pair of 3-pointers from John Flowers and Tarik Phillip to stretch the lead to nine points and draw a timeout from D2.
BV’s Kevin Jones hit a pair of free throws, the “Let’s Go Mountaineers!” chants raining down from the heavy pro-WVU crowd, and another bucket pushed BV within striking distance of the Elam Ending target of 61 — after BV led 53-44 with four minutes remaining.
A 3-pointer from Phillip made it a 60-51 game, and after some back-and-forth play with a few missed shots from both sides, BV’s Nathan Adrian hit a 3-point dagger for the win.
A fitting end for Adrian, who signed a professional contract earlier Monday with Happy Casa Brindsi in the Italian league.
Jones led the way offensively for BV, scoring 13 points on 5-of-11 shooting and grabbing six rebounds. Phillip, Adrian and Jamel Morris each added 11 points for BV. Phillip led BV with seven assists and Adrian shot an efficient 4-of-5 (3-of-4 from 3-point range) and grabbed four rebounds.
D2’s Shaun Willett led the way for his team, scoring 12 points and grabbing nine rebounds, while teammate Todd Wither scored 11 points to round out double-digit scorers for D2.
BV will now play Team 23, led by the winningest coach in TBT history and a roster with a few former NBA players, next for the chance to make a trip to Dayton, Ohio for the Elite 8.