The Basketball Tournament 2020: House of ‘Paign notches first win over War Tampa


Photo Courtesy of Ben Solomon

House of Paign player Michael Finke goes for a dunk during their match against War Tampa on Saturday at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, OH.

By Nithin Reddy, Staff Writer

The House of ‘Paign defeated War Tampa 76-53 in the first round of The Basketball Tournament. In a dominant opening performance, the House of ‘Paign were able to limit War Tampa to a measly 30% shooting from the field and 13% shooting from three. War Tampa only had one player reach double-digit points, and their lethal three-point shooting combination of Bryce Brown and Fletcher Magee only scored 10 points together.

“We knew coming in that we have enough offensive firepower. We knew that to start the game and get us going we needed defense and toughness,” said Malcolm Hill. “The staff did a great job preaching to start on the defensive end, play hard and be physical.”

Despite playing together for less than a week, the House of ‘Paign looks like they are gelling well. Starting with Zoom conferences before the group came together to practices with each other, the team played well off of one another.

“We look like a real team that has been practicing for six months and we’ve only been here for six days,” said former Illini guard Andrés Feliz.

Offensively, the House of ‘Paign were led by South Dakota State Alum Mike Daum’s 21 points and 13 rebounds. Daum was a big part of the House of ‘Paign’s quick start, as they led by nine points halfway through the first quarter. War Tampa was able to cut the lead to a one-possession game, but a breakaway dunk by Hill gave the House of ‘Paign a five-point lead after one quarter. The game stayed relatively close, but a late run by the House of ‘Paign capped off by a thunderous Michael Finke dunk gave the House of ‘Paign an 11-point lead heading to the half.

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The second half wasn’t close. War Tampa continued to struggle offensively, and the House of ‘Paign continued to expand the lead. Heading into the fourth quarter, the House of ‘Paign led by 16 points, and by the start of the Elum ending that lead moved to 19. Unlike most basketball games, TBT games end with the Elum ending where the winner is determined by whichever team gets to 8 points more than the leading team’s total after the first dead ball under four minutes.

The Target score was 76 and the House of ‘Paign got there as they ran through War Tampa. In total, Feliz put his stamp on the game. He ended with 20 points and 7 rebounds on 7-14 shooting and provided good defense on the guards of War Tampa, most notably Magee.

“[Feliz] is a dog. I wasn’t teammates with Andrés, I mean obviously, I wasn’t at Illinois, but when you watch this dude’s game from afar you envision what it’s like to have him on your team, and then when he is on your team you want to go to war with him,” head coach Mike Latulip said.

Hill also helped the House of ‘Paign as he added 15 points, 4 rebounds and 4 steals on 5-10 shooting from the field. Despite shooting struggles from the rest of the team, the trio of Daum, Feliz and Hill was more than enough for the House of ‘Paign.

The House of ‘Paign will face Carmen’s Crew in the second round of the tournament. Carmen’s Crew is the No. 1 seed in the tournament and the defending champions of The Basketball Tournament. Their team is comprised of mostly Ohio State alumni.

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