Kevin Jones’ game-winning shot Wednesday night vaulted Best Virginia past the West Virginia Regional and into the TBT quarterfinals.
It’s the first time the WVU basketball alumni team has made it to The Basketball Tournament’s Elite Eight.
Friday night’s contest will be the first national quarterfinal game that Best Virginia’s Final Four trio of Jones, Devin Ebanks, and John Flowers will have played in together since 2010. But it also gives a unique opportunity for point guard Juwan Staten.
The TBT quarterfinals, semifinals, and championship game are all being held inside University of Dayton Arena.
That was Staten’s home gym for his freshman season of college basketball.
“I mean, it’s the best of both worlds. You know, playing for $1 million, and you know, (possibly) winning $1 million in my home city. So there’s no better feeling than that,” Staten said on Wednesday. “I’m excited, and I’m just ready to get it done.”
Staten grew up in Dayton, Ohio, and played one season for his hometown college team. He then transferred to West Virginia, where he played three seasons and became a two-time first team All-Big 12 point guard.
Best Virginia, which had the home crowd advantage for the first three rounds of the tournament, will be in enemy territory this evening. Opponent Red Scare is the Dayton alumni team, and boasts nine former Flyers players between the active roster and coaching staff.
University of Dayton Arena is considered one of the top atmospheres in all of college basketball, especially when looking at non-Power 5 Conference programs.
“I played at Dayton, so I know what it’s like playing in there,” Staten said. “I’ve never played against Dayton. The fans, you know, they were great when I was there. So, I’m looking forward to it. I know there will be some adversity, but we’ve got a good team.”
UD Arena can hold up to 14,000 fans. It has not only been used for The Basketball Tournament games, but has also hosted NCAA postseason tournament action every year dating back to 2001.
“They bring the First Four there for a reason in the NCAA Tournament,” said Best Virginia head coach James Long. “It’s one of the best atmospheres in the country.”
Staten is averaging 6.3 points, 2.3 rebounds, and two assists per game during TBT action this year.
As a group, Best Virginia is averaging 75.7 points per game, and has won its three contests by an average of 13.7 points.
Red Scare, on the other hand, is scoring at a 73.3 points per game clip, and didn’t have any of its contests in the first three rounds decided by more than six points.
Best Virginia’s TBT quarterfinal matchup with Red Scare begins a 9 p.m. ET, and will be televised on ESPN.