Top 10 Elam Ending Moments of 2018


By: Josh Brown | @josh_brown31

2018 was the year of the Elam Ending

Whether you love the Elam Ending or still have mixed feelings, there's no denying that the revolutionary concept took the basketball world by storm in 2018. From debating whether it belongs in the college game to speculating how some of the NBA's signature moments would have played out under the format, the countless water-cooler debates that emerged made for great entertainment. It also made for really good basketball. Before we flip the calendar to 2019, here's a look back at the top 10 Elam Ending moments of the year. Enjoy!

10. Terell Smith has ice in his veins

Aside from maybe Overseas Elite (more on them later), nobody took advantage of the Elam Ending quite like the PrimeTime Players. In their opening-round win over fifth-seeded Always A Brave, the seven-time minor league champs overcame a 59-50 deficit to reach the target score of 66. While they didn't have nearly the same uphill climb against Big X in round two, it wouldn't be a PrimeTime game without some sort of dramatic ending. Tied at 67 with a target score of 70, Mike Davis passed up a good shot to get an even better look for Terell Smith. As he did all tournament long, Smith connected from downtown to send PrimeTime to the Super 16. 



9.  What can't Robert Upshaw do?

If you're not a believer that good defense leads to good offense, just watch this Robert Upshaw highlight. With both teams a bucket away from the target score, Upshaw made a HUGE block on the defensive end and then dished a perfect pass to Matt Bouldin for what ended up being the game-winning free throws. To put the cherry on top, Few Good Men was playing in front of a home crowd at the annual Spokane Hoopfest.



8. That's some Tiger on Tiger crime

Just on the surface alone, Darius Washington's winner against Memphis State was an unforgettable moment. With both teams within three points of the target score, Washington hit a contested jumper at the elbow to advance Team DRC to the Super 16. When you factor in that Washington played two years at Memphis and was playing against a Memphis alumni squad, it makes it all the more special. After the game, Washington described the shot as "icing on the cake."



7. Morris floater completes Big X comeback 

Are you somebody who misses seeing the occasional buzzer beater under the Elam Ending format? Just watch Jamel Morris sink the game-winner against the Chattanooga Trenches. After trailing by 16 points in the second quarter, Big X clawed its way back to tie the game at 79. With a target score of 80 on the board, Morris (32 points) got around two defenders and kissed the ball off the glass to complete the comeback. It doesn't get much more dramatic than that.



6. Bernard Parks from the parking lot

How often do you really see a team come back from six points down with under four minutes to go? In large part due to the Elam Ending, Atlanta Dirty South was able to do exactly that against Purple & Black. Instead of having to take rushed shots and foul on defense, Dirty South continued chipping away until they were down 74-73 with a target score of 76. That's when Bernard Parks (18 points) decided to take matters into his own hands, draining a three from the parking lot to get the W.



5. Nichols sends Orange Nation into a frenzy

If you put a Syracuse alumni team within a 3,000-mile radius of the Carrier Dome, you can be assured that they will have fans there to cheer them on. When the game takes place in New York, it makes it all the more special. For the second straight summer, Boeheim's Army grinded out a close win against Team Fancy in Brooklyn. When Demetris Nichols hit the winning three from the corner to send the team to the Super 16, the roof was one decibel away from caving in.



4. Buford, Lighty cap off historic homecoming in Columbus

Speaking of insane crowds, Ohio State fans sure know how to welcome their guys back home. After blowing out the West Virginia Wildcats and building up a comfortable lead on the Matadors in Columbus, the only thing that separated Scarlet & Gray from the Super 16 was one final Elam Ending winner in front of the hometown fans. To say they put the cherry on top would be an understatement. After catching a full-court outlet from Jared Sullinger, Buckeye legend William Buford threw up a perfect lob that David Lighty slammed home with authority. The crowd's reaction speaks for itself.



3. Golden Ending for 35-year old Travis Diener

 Even though he frequently pokes fun at his age, Travis Diener's story is actually quite inspiring. In 2014, Diener retired from pro basketball after playing nine seasons in the NBA and Italy. After spending a couple years back at Marquette as director of player personnel, Diener returned to professional basketball as a 34-year old in 2017 and is currently in his second season with Vanoli Cremona. That brings us to TBT 2018, where Diener not only hit a deep three to send the Golden Eagles to Baltimore, but sent a message to the world that you should never give up on your passion. The only question that remains is who had the better reaction, former teammate Dwyane Wade or Diener's father?



2. Jamil Wilson takes matters into his own hands

If this was a list of the most dominating Elam Ending performances, Jamil Wilson would take the No. 1 spot in a landslide. After the Talladega Knights launched a comeback effort to tie the game at 66, Wilson ended the game before anybody could blink. In consecutive possessions, Wilson converted a four-point play, made a huge block to prevent a lay-up, and hit a transition three from way downtown. Just like that, the Golden Eagles were on to the Northeast Regional Championship Game.



1. One Shot. $2 million.

Imagine a normal free throw: now add in the fact that you're playing on national television, it's for $2 million, and you have the weight of a dynasty on your shoulders. That's the position Justin Burrell found himself in at the end of the TBT 2018 Championship Game. Despite all the pressure, he sunk it like he was in an empty gym. For longtime TBT fans, the fact that Burrell hit the first-ever Elam Ending winner for $2 million made the moment even more special. In 2014, Burrell was a member of the Team Barstool squad who lost the first-ever TBT Championship Game in heartbreaking fashion to the Notre Dame Fighting Alumni. To this day, Burrell still calls it one of the hardest losses of his basketball career. He has since played in TBT every year, bouncing around teams before settling with Overseas Elite in 2017. While there's no sign of him slowing down anytime soon, it felt like a full-circle way to close out the first five years of TBT. 



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