Huge Game 2 Comeback Helps Send Hornets Venom GT to THE TURN Quarterfinals

Charlotte Reverse Sweeps Bucks Gaming, Expose Nets Career-High 30 PTS in Game 3

On the brink of getting swept out of THE TURN Tournament, Hornets Venom GT stunningly rallied from a 21-point deficit in Game 2 on its way to a 2-1 comeback series win over Bucks Gaming on Thursday night.

Charlotte built up a 43-31 lead by the midway point of the third quarter in the opener, but a 19-7 run by Milwaukee knotted the score at 50-50 with four minutes left. Still tied at the 1:16 mark, guard Reginald “Regg” Nash notched an old-fashioned three-point play to kick off a 5-0 run for the Bucks, giving the visitors just enough wiggle room to eventually seal a 64-63 win.

Guard Justin “Snubby” Stemerman had 22 points for Hornets Venom and center Zaeya “Zae” Ishak racked up 16 points, nine rebounds and four assists. Forward Idris “Squidris” Richardson scored 18 points for Milwaukee, which also got double-double performances from both Regg (14 points and 14 assists) and center Tyler “Plondo” Lay (14 points and 17 rebounds).

Bucks Gaming raced out of the gates in Game 2, compiling a 41-20 advantage shortly before halftime. Charlotte trimmed the deficit to 14 by the third quarter before a reset delayed the game for about 20 minutes. Upon return, Hornets Venom seemingly pulled a complete 180, ripping off a 25-11 run to tie the score with 3:24 remaining on the clock.

Both teams exchanged baskets the rest of the way before Hornets Venom inched in front by two on a go-ahead Snubby bank shot with 32 seconds remaining. Zae then swatted away a Regg layup and with another shot to tie the score on the final possession, guard Aaron “Arooks” Rookwood’s jumper was completely blanketed by Snubby, securing a 65-63 victory.

Snubby (22 points), forward Gio “Trap” Elizondo (career-high 17 points) and forward Alontae “Gliz” Proctor (11) all scored in double figures in Game 2, while Zae chipped in seven points, 10 rebounds, four assists, five steals and two blocks. Regg and Arooks each had 19 points for Milwaukee, with the former also racking up 16 assists and an unsightly 14 turnovers.

Down 31-26 at halftime in Game 3, Hornets Venom exploded in the third quarter, outscoring Milwaukee by a staggering 30-6 margin to open up a 19-point lead. Guard Alex “Expose” Whelan connected on all five of his three-point attempts in the frame for 15 points as Hornets Venom rolled its way to a 77-60 series-clinching victory in Game 3.

Expose finished with a career-high 30 points on 11-of-12 shooting (8-of-8 from three), four rebounds and four assists in the win. Charlotte also got double-doubles from both Snubby (24 points and a career-high 14 assists) and Zae (14 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists), while Regg led the way for Milwaukee with 27 points, 10 assists and three steals.

Charlotte went just 4-of-12 from distance in the opening loss before connecting on 19-of-36 such attempts over the final two contests (53 percent). Hornets Venom also registered an impressive 84 percent assist rate in Game 2 (27 assists on 32 FGM) after posting marks of 62 percent in both Games 1 and 2 (16 assists on 26 FGM in each).

Hornets Venom will now face second-seeded Jazz Gaming in the quarterfinals of THE TURN beginning tonight, July 24, at 5 PM EST. Catch the action on ESPN2, Twitch.TV/NBA2KLeague or YouTube Gaming.

by Sam Perley