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Collison's Team Eliminated from The Basketball Tournament

by Wheat Hotchkiss
Pacers.com Writer/Editor
@Wheat_Hotchkiss

Pacers guard Darren Collison's summer coaching stint came to an end over the weekend. Team Challenge ALS, the team Collison has coached each of the past two years in The Basketball Tournament, won its regional semifinal game on Saturday, but fell in the regional final on Sunday.

The Basketball Tournament is an open-application, single-elimination tournament featuring 64 teams competing for a $2 million grand prize.

Team Challenge ALS was assembled by Sean Marshall, a former Boston College star who was inspired by the story of Pete Frates, his college roommate who is suffering from ALS and popularized the Ice Bucket Challenge as a way to promote awareness of the disease. If they won, the team would have donated $250,000 of their winnings to ALS research.

The team's roster features mostly players originally from the Los Angeles area. Collison, who played at Etiwanda High School in Rancho Cucamonga and later at UCLA, was brought on to coach the team.

Team Challenge ALS started the weekend off strong, picking up an 86-80 victory over Sons of Westwood, a team made up primarily of former UCLA players. Collison, also a UCLA alum, no doubt relished coming out on top against a team that featured his former college teammate Malcolm Lee.

Marvelle Harris led Team Challenge ALS in the win with 32 points and eight rebounds. Marshall added 14 points.

Jeff Ayres, formerly known as Jeff Pendergraph and Collison's teammate on the Pacers during the 2011-12 season, added eight points off the bench.

But Team Challenge ALS' tournament run came to an end the next day, as they fell to Eberlein Drive on Sunday night, 78-67. Casper Ware led Team Challenge ALS with 22 points in the loss, while Harris scored 13. Ayres chipped in five points off the bench.

Eberlein Drive features a number of names familiar to Pacers fans. Jerome Randle scored a team-high 29 points in the win, but a number of other players on the roster have a connection to the Hoosier state.

Former Pacers forward Lou Amundson had three points and six rebounds against Team Challenge ALS. Former Pacers guard Donald Sloan helped Eberlein Drive to a pair of victories in earlier rounds, but did not play for the team this past weekend.

NBA veteran Jeremy Evans, who took part in training camp with the Pacers prior to the 2016-17 season, had eight points and seven rebounds on Sunday. Veteran big man Willie Reed, who played for the Pacers in Summer League in 2014, tallied 10 points and three boards.

And former Indiana University star Christian Watford also plays for Eberlein Drive. Watford had six points and four rebounds in Sunday's win.

Eberlein Drive will play Team Fredette, a squad headlined by 2011 National Player of the Year Jimmer Fredette, in one semifinal on Thursday night in Baltimore. The other semifinal features defending champions Overseas Elite, who beat Collison's team in the finals a year ago, and Golden Eagles, a team of mostly Marquette alumni that includes former Pacers guard Travis Diener.

The Basketball Tournament championship game is on Friday night at 9:00 PM ET on ESPN.