Paris Horne's 16 points led Overseas Elite to victory in semifinals of The Basketball Tournament, with $1,000,000 at stake in tomorrow's championship. (Photo courtesy of Rumble In The Garden)
Paris Horne's Rose Hill Gym debut was one he would like to forget. His return, however, may be a defining moment in a million-dollar payday.
Competing in the Bronx for the first time since his St. John's team blew a 21-point second-half lead to Fordham during his senior season nearly five years ago, the former St. John's spark plug turned back the clock to the form that made him an integral piece of the Red Storm puzzle for four years, scoring 16 points as his Overseas Elite team advanced to the championship game of The Basketball Tournament with an 84-71 victory over Baltimore-based City Of Gods this afternoon.
"We started shorthanded," said Horne of his team's road to the finals, "then we survived Atlanta (site of the South Regional)." Then, we moved to Chicago, and we had no bigs, then we survived Chicago. Today, we were able to play 100 percent, we didn't have to conserve energy."
After an uptempo first half, fatigue was not going to be a factor as both teams ran up and down the floor in the opening minutes, with City Of Gods taking an 18-12 lead before a 10-0 run gave Overseas Elite a lead they would not relinquish, adding to their cushion as the game wore on.
Five Overseas Elite players ended the afternoon in double figures, with Horne's 16 matching former Texas guard Myck Kabongo for the team high. Errick McCollum contributed 15, with former Arizona guard Kyle Fogg accounting for 12, and D.J. Kennedy; Horne's college teammate at St. John's, chipping in with a gritty 13 points of his own in an effort that harkened back to his days in Queens.
Overseas Elite will take on Team 23, whose defensive clinics added another session to their resume today by defeating Ants Alumni 87-76 in a contest where the final score was much closer than the game let on. Led by 24 points from Davin White and 21 from Travis Gabbidon, Team 23 led wire-to-wire, scoring the first ten points of the game and not looking back as they fed off a significant portion of crowd support, something that will come in handy against the local connections of Overseas Elite, whose leader today put his tournament experience in perspective after almost having to forfeit in his team's first game due to a lack of players.
"For me, it's definitely enjoyable," said Horne of Overseas Elite's run. "It definitely felt good to be back home, I knew we'd have a lot of friends and family here. For us to play together, and now we're winning, I'm having fun."