As we pass the halfway point of Season 2 of the On Point Summer League Pro-Am, Week 3 provided the first shocking moment of the season. Here’s what happened.
TEAM ON POINT REMAINS PERFECT WITH WIN OVER X-MEN
In what has been expected from the top team of the Pro-Am, Team On Point (3-0) had four players score in double figures as they beat a gritty X-Men team (1-2), 80-71. With the win, On Point is the first team to clinch a playoff spot.
Although both teams shot 50 per cent from the field, Team On Point made six more field goals (34-28), had four more steals (11-7), and dished out nine more assists (21-12) than Team X-Men.
On top of being the only team with an undefeated record, Team On Point also has not trailed at any point during this season thus far.
“We have a lot of continuity,” On Point guard Jamal Reynolds said, who had a hyper-efficient performance from the field with a team-high 19 points on 75 per cent shooting (9-12) along with six rebounds and six assists. “We’ve brought back most of our returning team and we’ve all shared and moved the ball. We all don’t care who’s been scoring and it’s been working so far.
Nigel Tyghter, Alex Johnson & Jalyn Pennie of On Point
The continuity and depth from On Point was tested as starting point guard Jabs Newby (lacerated finger) left the game in the first half and did not return, forcing guard Jovan Leamy into action.
“He played very well; he stepped up and didn’t try to do too much which was the most important thing,” Reynolds said of Leamy stepping up to the plate. “He was a key factor for us winning.”
Jalyn Pennie had another strong game with 18 points, eight rebounds and a game-high three blocks while Alex Johnson had 15 points and a game high seven assists.
Nigel Tyghter rounded out the players in double figures for Team On Point, with 13 points on a perfect night shooting from the field (6-6), providing hustle plays, especially in the second half.
“He’s an absolute beast; he looks like he plays football,” Reynolds said of Tyghter. “He just does his role and doesn’t try to do things out of his element. He just catches the ball, finishes strong, protects the paint, and he’s very crucial for us to make another championship run.”
Davion Parnsalu of X-Men
Davion Parnsalu did everything he could to keep X-Men in the game, leading all players with 22 points and four steals. Jayden Frederick, fresh off a flame throwing performance in Week 2 against Toben, scored all 19 of his points in the second half while Kevon Parchment had 13 points and a game high nine rebounds in the loss.
X-Men guard Nick Lewis was tossed out of the game after picking up his second technical foul midway through the second half. The game ended with a minute to go after Parchment and Joseph Wani both fouled out for Team X-Men, leaving them with just three players.
On Point scored the first eight points of the game before X-Men responded with eight unanswered. An alley-oop jam by Pennie seemed to give On Point the momentum heading into intermission but six straight points from Team X-Men, capped off by a steal and buzzer beating layup from Parnsalu, left On Point with a slim 33-30 lead at the half.
Team On Point then went on a 15-2 run, capped off by a layup from Reynolds, to give On Point its largest lead of the night at 52-36. X-Men kept chipping away but could not get over the hump as the closest they could get to was five.
A rematch of last year’s championship game will be underway at 7:00pm Wednesday as On Point and Toben square off. Meanwhile Team X-Men are in a must-win situation as they look to secure a playoff spot with a win against Starting 5 at 8:10pm.
Jayden Frederick of X-Men
M.A.D.E. PREVAILS IN BATTLE OF THE WINLESS: PLAYOFF HOPES STILL ALIVE
M.A.D.E. and Starting 5 were basically in a win or go home situation. With both teams winless heading into Week 3, a win was crucial to either team’s playoff hopes.
In the end, it was M.A.D.E. who kept their slim playoff hopes alive with an 84-61 blowout win of Starting 5. With Daniel Mullings and Duane Notice on the team, M.A.D.E got much-needed reinforcements and it showed in terms of the depth of talent between the two teams.
Five players finished in double figures for M.A.D.E., led by Darnell Landon’s 22 points and game high four steals.
“His offense was huge,” Mullings said. “He hit some crucial shots for us late in the shot clock, especially.”
Notice and Jaylen Babb-Harrison each had 14 while Ryan Wright had 13 and Mullings finished with 12, along with a team-high eight rebounds.
Dakota Lewis led Starting 5 with 20 points while Asher Lewis (12 points) was the only other player for them that scored in double figures. Jermel Kennedy grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds while Kevin Thomas stuffed the stat sheet with nine points, nine rebounds, and five assists in the loss.
Although Starting 5 had a 35-31 edge on the glass, M.A.D.E. had a 17-9 edge in assists, led by five from Hussein Abdullahi, and also had a 10-5 edge in the steals column. M.A.D.E. also shot 54 per cent from the field while limiting Starting 5 to just 37 per cent shooting overall.
Darnell Landon of M.A.D.E.
Starting 5 had a lead for much of the first half as Asher and Dakota Lewis each had nine first half points but behind the strength of 13 straight points, M.A.D.E took control and eventually took a 37-29 lead into the half.
For much of the second half, Starting 5 kept the deficit at a manageable level but a triple from Landon, who had 15 second half points, sparked a backbreaking 23-6 run from M.A.D.E. to close out the game.
“I think we tightened up on defense and communicated more and got into the seams and stopped them; we got some steals,” Mullings said. “The rebounds helped us ignite our offense and fast break and that led us to push away.”
Jermel Kennedy, Kevin Thomas & Ritchie Kanza Mata of Starting 5
Despite the win, M.A.D.E cannot leave any room for error from here on out as a loss in their final game against United could effectively eliminate them from playoff contention. Mullings says that rebounding better is going to be crucial.
“We gave up a lot of second chance points (today) which kind of hurt us early in the game but I think once we tackled it and made it an emphasis a little bit, it helped us going forward,” Mullings said. “So I think we have to continue to focus on that side of the ball.”
Starting 5, who are now eliminated from playoff contention, will face off against X-Men Wednesday at 8:10pm. Meanwhile, M.A.D.E plays another must-win game against United in the final game of the regular season at 9:20pm.
And speaking about Team United…
Duane Notice of M.A.D.E.
UNITED GROWS UP FAST SHOCKING TOBEN AT THE BUZZER
It seems like whomever plays Team United will be in a dogfight with points hard to come by. This applied to Toben, aided with two of their key contributors Keith Barron Jr. and Gilbert Gyamfi out of action.
Despite that, Toben had the talent left to still pull off a win with Josh Collins, Dinjiyl Walker, and James Siakam in action. And it looked like they were going to pull off the win to continue their unbeaten season.
Khalid Abdel-Gabar had something to say about that, though.
Abdel-Gabar’s triple with 0.2 seconds left in the game gave United the stunning 66-65 win over Toben, sending everyone into a frenzy. United had overcome a 12 point first half deficit to win this game.
“Well, I knew we needed the basket,” Abdel-Gabar, who led United with 11 points and two steals, said. “I didn’t really have much of an opportunity to pass the ball so I knew I had to let it go.”
Khalid Abdel-Gabar of United vs Jameel Williamson of Toben
With the win, United now takes over second place in the Pro-Am standings while Toben is now in third.
Jace Colley and Liban Mohamed each had 10 points to round off the players scoring in double figures for United. Warsame Mohamed had a game-high nine rebounds while Yusuf Ali dished out a game-high six assists in the win.
For Toben, Collins led all scorers with 21 points; however, he missed a key free throw late in the game that gave United a chance to win the game instead of tie. Siakam had 19 points and eight rebounds while Walker finished with 15.
Toben had a 35-28 edge on the glass and shot 46 per cent overall compared to United’s 39 per cent. But a 13-5 edge in the assists category, plus a 12-8 edge from the free throw line and three more triples made (6-3), proved critical for United in pulling off the win.
“I think confidence plays a big role,” Abdel-Gabar said about the upset win. “All of our guys knew that we can win this game and as long as we have confidence, we’re going to go out knowing that we’re the better team. I would say we didn’t look at it as an upset.”
Collins had eight first half points while Anthony Ottley Jr., scored all of his seven points in the opening half as Toben went up by as many as 12 (27-15). But a triple from Liban Mohamed at the buzzer capped off a 13-5 run for United as they went into halftime, down just four (32-28).
Josh Collins of Toben
After both teams split the first eight points of the second half, United scored eight unanswered to take a four point lead (40-36) capped off by an and-one alley-oop layup from Colley. They took their largest lead at five (50-45) but Toben chipped away at the deficit and eventually took a three point lead with 1:34 to go (62-59) as United called for time.
Colley hit a layup and Abdel-Gabar hit a pair of free throws to retake the lead for United but a clutch step back jumper from Walker gave Toben the lead right back with 18 seconds to go (64-63).
United called its final timeout and Colley had a layup but missed it and Collins was intentionally fouled, sending him to the line for two. To everyone’s surprise, Collins missed the first one but bounced back and made the second, giving United one last chance.
Ali got the ball and found a streaking Abdel-Gabar, who dribbled to the three point line and fired away, rattling in the jumper to give United the lead for good, as his teammates mobbed him at centre court.
“We see him as a leader of the team and everybody trusts him to have the ball in his hands and make the right play,” Abdel-Gabar said about Ali. “He found the open man and I hit the shot.”
Toben had one last chance to pull off the win but the alley-oop pass was swatted away by Colley, ending the game.
Incredibly, Abdel-Gabar was drafted out of the combine by Team Toben but because of limited roster spots, decided to join United. This game was his first with the squad and boy, did he ever make an impact.
“They have a young group of guys and they’re quick,” Abdel-Gabar said about playing with United. “Everyone knows their role in the game and everyone likes to share the ball. Whenever we have that group of guys, we’re bound to have a good game.”
James Siakam & Dinjiyl of Toben battle Warsame Mohamed of United
Toben now has to recover quickly as a rematch of last year’s championship game will be Wednesday at 7:00pm against defending champion On Point as a win will be crucial for playoff implications.
Meanwhile, for United, another pressure packed game is in store for them in the regular season finale at 9:20pm as they face off against M.A.D.E., in a game that will most likely determine who gets into the postseason. Abdel-Gabar says the team needs to continue with the intensity that they had from this win into next game.
“We just have to move on to the next game with the same intensity,” said Abdel-Gabar. “Hopefully, this big win will show our guys what we can actually do in this league.”
TAKEAWAYS FROM WEEK 3
- Heading into Week 3, both Team On Point and Team Toben did not trail at all in the On Point Summer League Pro-Am. While On Point extended that streak to three games (96 minutes), Toben had theirs snapped at 69 after a layup from Ali gave United a 7-6 lead.
- The balance from M.A.D.E., was on display during Week 3 as five players scored in double figures. The drives in the paint from Mullings and Notice were a huge boost to the team and proved to be overwhelming for Starting 5 to handle.
- United won’t run up the score on you on the offensive end but man, can they defend. They currently lead the league in opponent points allowed (180) and opponent points per game (60.0 ppg)
- Meanwhile, On Point leads the league in points per game (85.7 ppg) and points scored (257). Their balance and depth on the offensive end, combined with their ball movement, have been exquisite.
- Toben’s shooters went cold from behind the arc. After reaching double figures in made threes in the first two games, they shot a paltry 13 per cent (3-23) from behind the arc in Week 3.
ON POINT PERFORMERS OF THE GAME
Darnell Landon (M.A.D.E.): 22 points, 4 steals (9/14 FG, 4/9 3FG)
Jamal Reynolds (On Point): 19 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals (9/12 FG, 1/2 FT)
Khalid Abdel-Gabar (United): 11 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals (4/9 FG, 1/1 3FG, 2/2 FT)
|On Point – x
|Starting 5 – o
x- clinched playoff berth
UP NEXT (WEEK 4: JULY 18, 2018)
On Point vs. Toben (7:00 pm)
Starting 5 vs. X-Men (8:10 pm)
United vs. M.A.D.E. (9:20 pm)
Playoff spots are on the line on July 18, as the gap for the fourth and final spot between X-Men and M.A.D.E., is razor thin, with X-Men having the edge in point differential… by one point.
On Point looks to end the regular season unbeaten against Toben, who look to clinch a playoff berth with a win. A win from United against M.A.D.E, will clinch at least the second seed for them but M.A.D.E., will look to make the standings interesting with a win.
X-Men looks to take advantage against still-winless Starting 5 and put themselves in a good position for a playoff spot but a loss to team Starting 5 could potentially play spoiler.
Written by Kajan Thiruthanikasalam
Photos by Reel Motion Image