The annual Tournament of Champions tournament got off to an exciting start Thursday with a afternoon session featuring the Campus Colts getting a 73-69 victory over the Wichita Blue Aces followed by a 62-34 Manhattan Indians win over the Maize Eagles.
In the first game, Campus' relentless defense and aggressive rebounding got the first round of the Tournament of Champions off to a strong start. The Campus Colts kept constant man to man pressure on defense, making it difficult for East to get the ball down the court effectively.
Campus took a 22-12 lead at the end of the first led by Thomas King with 9 points.
Under their own basket, Campus moved the ball around the court and were very aggressive on rebounds.
East settled down in the second period and began to find their rhythm.
They began to chip away while holding Campus to just 3 points for the first three minutes of the second period. East kept applying pressure and scrambling for the ball.
Campus still maintained their full court pressure but East climbed back in the game with aggressive defense and some foul trouble for three starters. Smith tied the game at 3:21 with a long 3-pointer for East.
The Colts' Thomas King dominated the scoring in the first half with 14 points. Shawn Warrior and Sterling Chapman each contributed 6 as eight colts scored in the first half.
For the Blue Aces, Adriel Smith had 8 points and Fontaine Williams had 7. The Blue Aces got scoring from seven.
In the second half, teams traded shots until East tied the game then Norman Massey stole the ball and scored and was fouled to give East only their second lead of the game. Teams traded baskets in the third quarter with several lead changes and ties with East leading at the end of the third quarter 51 to 50.
East turned up the pressure in the fourth quarter and Campus answered with a full court press. Campus kept up the pressure and gradually pulled into the lead. A late intentional foul put Campus on the line and gave them the ball but East refused to give up and kept attacking the basket.
In the end, Campus stayed steady and came away with a 73-69 victory over the East Blue aces.
Campus Coach Chris Davis said his Colts got off to a strong start but then got into foul trouble with three of his starters on the bench early that allowed the Blue Aces to get back into the game.
But the Colts pulled together in the fourth quarter to get the win. Keither Florence made some big plays at the end as he put in 10 points for the Colts and pulled in 9 rebounds.
Thomas King had a strong night scoring 23 points and 7 rebounds. As a team, the Colts pulled in 40 rebounds and went 25 of 53 from the field.
In the second TOC afternoon game, the Manhattan Indians came out fast and aggressive as they started their first round play in the TOC against the Maize Eagles. The Indians proved to be too much for the Eagles and took a 62-34 victory for Manhattan.
Both teams started out little cold with the first points of the game coming at 6:29 in the first quarter. Manhattan found the groove first and with an aggressive defense, took an 18-7 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Manhattan kept up the pressure, especially on defense, causing the Eagles to miss some shots down low. Teams traded baskets and at the end of the half, Manhattan held a 31 to 20 lead thanks to some late scores.
Jacob Hanna and Winston Bing led Maize's scoring in the first half. None of the six scorers were in double figures.
For the Indians, Raeshon Riddick accounted for 16 of the teams 31 half time points with five others in single digits.
In the second half, Owen Braxmeyer pushed the ball down the court for three breakaway layups in a row to lead the Indians as they built on their double digit lead.
The Indians kept the defensive pressure up and created several breakaway points.
The Eagles went to a full court press as they tried to fight their way back into the game. But the Indians took advantage of their speed and had a 49-28 lead at the end of the third.
The Indians continued their defensive intensity and persistent offensive rebounding in the fourth quarter to capture a 62-34 victory over Maize.
Jacob Hanna and Winston Bing both had 6 points to lead the Eagles in scoring. None of the nine Eagles that scored were in double digits.
For Manhattan, Raeshon Riddick scored 19 and had 5 rebounds while Owen Braxmeyer had 15 points and 5 rebounds. Nine Indians scored and as a team had 38 rebounds.
Manhattan coach Benjamin George said his team hit the boards hard, getting 18 defensive rebounds and 20 offensive rebounds, the most offensive rebounds they have had in a single game all season.
"It was a big factor in the game," George said.
The Defense set the tone for the game. Their ball screens were very effective and that created a lot of turnovers.
Braxmeyer was making good decisions on when to shoot and when to share the ball. The half court offense, led by Riddick, was a beast inside.
Turnovers were a concern so George challenged the team to do just that and they cut their turnovers from 7 in the first half to 3 in the second.
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