TBT Notebook: Pepper leads NBSB to quarters

TBT Notebook: Pepper leads NBSB to quarters
June 7, 2014, 6:45 pm
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Dalton Pepper advances his team in the bracket after the North Broad Street Bullies won on Saturday to make the quarterfinals of The Basketball Tournament. (The Basketball Tournament)

Updated: 11:19 p.m.

Less than three months after completing a 9-22 senior season, former Temple guard Dalton Pepper found himself back on the court, this time in search of a win in the unique The Basketball Tournament.

And he had help from some old friends like Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson, T.J. DiLeo and Ramone Moore. The four former Owls led the way for the North Broad Street Bullies.

The $500,000 grand price for the winning team doesn’t hurt the experience either.

“I think it’s a great experience just going out and being able to play in games like this in front of a crowd,” Pepper said after the team’s 96-80 second-round win over the Sconnie Legends on Saturday. “It’s great competition. I think it’s great to play with former teammates, it’s even better.

“Especially that the winner takes all that money.”

Pepper went off for 32 points while shooting an efficient 13 for 22 from the field to lead the way for his team.

Although Pepper was the leading scorer for head coach Fran Dunphy last year, the Sconnies weren’t prepared to handle him. The Sconnies, some of whom are nearly 20 years the elder of some North Broad players, admittedly looked through the box score from the night before to decide defensive assignments. 

It didn’t tell the full story after Moore and Hollis-Jefferson each scored more than Pepper in Game 1.

“We put our best defender on him (Hollis-Jefferson) and put me on the guy who didn’t score as much,” Sconnies leader Jeff Norgaard said, talking about Pepper.

With Team ROBY -- Villanova’s 2009 Final Four reunion team featuring Scottie Reynolds, Corey Fisher and Antonio Pena -- losing to the Peace Players, the North Broad Street Bullies were the most Philly-centric group left playing. If the 'Nova team had won, the two would have met in the semifinals.

Instead, Pepper and the North Broad Street Bullies fell to another former Temple Owl, David Hawkins, and the Peace Players in the quarterfinals on Saturday night, 82-80.

Georgetown duo continues to roll
The last time you saw Austin Freeman and Chris Wright on the basketball court together for an organized game, they were wearing Hoya blue and gray.

Now the duo teamed up for the DMV’s Finest to make a run at $500,000.

Teammates for four years from 2007-11, Freeman and Wright reached the NCAA tournament three separate times but never advanced past the second round. It was similar news for the two in the Big East tournament too, losing in the championship game in 2008 and 2010.

As their days as teammates faded away, Freeman and Wright embarked on separate professional careers. Freeman currently plays for the Iowa Energy, the Memphis Grizzlies’ D-League affiliate, while Wright suits up for ASVEL Basket of the Pro A Euroleague in France.

Wright is the only one of the two to play in the NBA, appearing in three games while on a 10-day contract with the Dallas Mavericks in 2013.

For at least this one weekend, they’re teammates again at The Basketball Tournament.

In their second-round victory over Rep Your City, Wright led the way with a near triple-double, tallying 21 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists. Freeman added 19 points, seven rebounds and seven assists of his own, while the duo combined to hit 10 three-pointers.

They faced former NBA guard Dahntay Jones, forward Josh Boone and the rest of No. 1-seeded Team Barstool in an 83-76 quarterfinal lost Saturday night.

Stats of the day
Former Villanova forward Antonio Pena followed up a 51-point first-round performance with 26 points in a loss to the Peace Players.

The oldest player in the tournament at 41 years old, Jeff Nordgaard, former Wisconsin-Green Bay forward, scored 13 points in 19 minutes.

Highlight of the day
Let’s be serious, nobody was going to top this Day 1 alley-oop from Rep Your City and former Eastern Kentucky guard Marcus Lewis on the feed from former Delaware 87er and current NBA draft prospect Aquille Carr. It was No. 1 on SportsCenter's top 10 plays.

Quote of the day
Former Ole Miss guard and all-the-time speaker of his mind Marshall Henderson told Jeff McDevitt of City of Basketball Love, “I told my agent I’d strap a bomb [vest] on and go to Afghanistan to play,” when asked what he thought about playing overseas.

Who’s left after three rounds
•Team Barstool (featuring Dahntay Jones and Josh Boone)

•Big Apple Basketball (featuring Smush Parker and Rashad McCants) 

•Notre Dame Fighting Alumni (featuring Tyrone Nash)

•Peace Players (featuring David Hawkins)

What’s coming next
The semifinals will be played Sunday, June 8, beginning at 1 p.m. with the second game following at 3 p.m.

The finals will be played on June 26 at a location and time to be determined.