Hornets Venom GT Goes 2-2 in THE TIPOFF Tournament Opening Round

Snubby’s Scoring, Type Triple-Double, Defense Highlight Team’s First 2KL Tournament

Hornets Venom GT opened and closed out its participation in this year’s THE TIPOFF Tournament on Wednesday night with a pair of split contests against Wizards District Gaming and T-Wolves Gaming, leaving the team on the outside of quarterfinals advancement.

In the first appearance of the four-hour marathon, Wizards DG held a 12-10 lead over Hornets Venom after the first quarter before the game had to be reset because of a connection issue. Defense continued to reign heavy in this one as Charlotte eventually muscled its way to a 46-43 lead with 10 seconds remaining.

Washington had one final chance to tie following an inbounds pass at center court, but the pesky-on ball defense from lock Gio “Trap” Elizondo, center Xavier “Type” Vescovi and guard Justin “Snubby” Stemerman forced an errant Maurice “ReeseDaGod” Delaney three-pointer at the buzzer. Snubby scored 29 points for Hornets Venom in the win, Trap had four assists and five steals and ReeseDaGod and center Ryan “Dayfri” Conger each had 12 points for Washington.

Leading by one after the first quarter of Game 2, Hornets Venom was outscored in the second 17-10 to enter halftime trailing, 32-26. Wizards DG inched ahead by eight heading into the fourth and then blew away Hornets Venom by a 23-11 margin over the final six minutes of action in route to an easy 70-50 win.

Snubby (17), Type (11) and forward Zaeya “Zae” Ishak (11) all scored in double figures, with Type also tallying 14 rebounds, three steals and three blocks in the process. Point guard John “JBM” Mascone (28) and Dayfri (24) both crossed the 20-point plateau for Wizards DG, with the latter also adding 11 rebounds, five assists, two steals and three blocks in the victory.

Heading into the third game of the night, Hornets Venom started off in a 12-2 hole to T-Wolves Gaming, but gradually recovered and entered halftime trailing by just one. After outscoring Minnesota by eight in the third quarter, Charlotte eventually pulled ahead by 11 with two-and-a-half minutes remaining.

T-Wolves Gaming then rolled off an 8-0 run to get within three by the 59-second mark, but a Type layup and a Zae takeaway leading into a Snubby transition dunk extinguished the late comeback attempt. Zae (24) and Snubby (20) both had 20-point games in the 73-62 win, while Type double-doubled with 16 points, 11 rebounds, five assists and two blocks.

Reigning NBA 2K League Finals MVP and point guard Michael “BearDaBeast” Key had 29 points, seven assists and three steals in the loss and center Mihad “FEAST” Feratovic put up 16 points, 17 rebounds, four assists, two steals and five blocks in what was T-Wolves Gaming’s seventh consecutive loss dating back to regular season play.

Needing another win to keep advancement hopes alive, Hornets Venom got off to a slow start in Game 4 and trailed T-Wolves Gaming, 24-12, after the opening quarter. The deficit grew to 22 by the break and Charlotte never really recovered on its way to an 86-67 loss.

Guard Alex “Expose” Whelan had a team-high 20 points in the contest and Type notched his third overall triple-double of the season with 14 points, 17 rebounds, 12 assists and two blocks. BearDaBeast erupted for 42 points and four assists in the outing and FEAST amassed a staggering 14 points, 28 rebounds, seven assists, three steals and two blocks.

Hornets Venom connected on just 18-of-53 three-point attempts (34 percent) on the evening, which included a 2-of-18 clip against Wizards DG (11 percent). Cavs Legion GC ultimately won Group 7 with a 3-1 record and the Gen.G Tigers of Shanghai went 4-0 in Group 6 to claim the TIPOFF Tournament wildcard spot.

Hornets Venom GT will return to regular season remote play action on Tuesday, June 23 when they take on Jazz Gaming in a road game starting at 10 PM EST. This matchup, which was rescheduled following a June 12 postponement because of connection issues, can be seen on ESPN2, Twitch.TV/NBA2KLeague or YouTube Gaming.

by Sam Perley