LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Fort Wayne Champs lived up to their nickname, at least for the second round of The Basketball Tournament, slipping past the D2 (Unheralded) team of Laurens’ Luquon Choice by a score of 83-81 in a game played at Frederick Douglass High School but televised nationally on ESPN2 Saturday night.
The tournament has an experimental format. After four quarters, a formula is used to determine the winner as the first team to a certain score. In this case, it was 83 points.
Choice tied the score with a pair of free throws, but ex-Wofford star Cameron Jackson was fouled under the basket after grabbing a rebound, and he ended the game by hitting both free throws.
The Indiana team played Loyalty Is Love in the Lexington Regional final on Sunday afternoon, via ESPN. The final eight teams will decide the $2 million, winner-take-all champion in Chicago on Aug. 1-6.
Stephaun Branch led D2 with 24 points and nine rebounds. Choice scored 12 after hitting 11 in the first-round victory over the Bluegrass Boys. He also played more minutes (31.0 average) than anyone else on the team.
Fort Wayne also led by two at halftime, 38-36, but D2 led for most of the second half.
Travis Leslie led the Champs with 17 points and seven rebounds.