DAYTON, Aug. 2, 2022 - Blue Collar U’s TBT debut came to a screeching halt with a semi-final loss to Team 23 last summer. This year, the University of Buffalo alumni squad left no doubt as to who TBT’s best team was.
Nick Perkins led the way with 19 points, and five players reached double figures for Blue Collar U, which never trailed en route to an 89-67 victory over Americana for Autism in TBT's 2022 $1 million, winner-take-all TBT championship game. Blue Collar U received the $1 million prize via Zelle during the team's postgame celebration.
C.J. Massinburg scored 18 points, Wes Clark added 17 and Lamonte Bearden had 10 points on 4-for-5 shooting for the victors, who captured their first TBT title. Blake Hamilton had 11 points, eight rebounds and a game-high five steals.
“[Winning TBT] means everything,” said Massinburg, who was named the tournament’s MVP. “That’s why we play. It’s one thing to play with a team of talented guys that somebody just put together. We can hold each other accountable, and that gave us the competitive edge.”
Clark, who was named to the All-Tournament Team and has never lost in nine TBT games, scored 14 of his 17 points in the first half.
“These guys give me so much confidence…and make me feel above the world,” said Clark. “The compliments are more to [my teammates].”
Montell McRae, who made the final dunk in the Elam Ending to capture the title for Blue Collar U, received a $10,000 bonus for making the championship-winning shot in a pair of Pumas.
The core of Blue Collar U won three Mid-American Conference titles in four years, and the team grew close to the city of Buffalo, which continues to heal from this spring’s fatal supermarket shooting. Of the 13 players on the roster, 10 of them have one of the victims’ names on the back of their jersey, while the remaining three say “Buffalo Strong.”
The city of Buffalo rallied around Blue Collar U as TBT continued this summer, and watch parties were commonplace in western New York on Tuesday night.
“This means everything for Buffalo,” said Massinburg. “I know that we’ve got a lot of support. A lot of fans were watching. Our phones are going crazy right now. The city was behind us.”
Tuesday's championship game capped TBT's ninth year. TBT’s attendance for this year's event grew 60% over its previous record (set in 2021), and ticket revenue is up 30% from its previous record as well (also 2021). Nine games from four different locations in 2022 cracked TBT’s top 15 all-time game attendance list, including games in Wichita, Dayton, Charleston (WV), and Albuquerque.
Blue Collar U improves to 10-1 all-time in two TBT summers and cleaned up this summer’s awards as well. Massinburg (15.2 ppg) took home the MVP award. Clark and Perkins join Massinburg on the All-Tournament team. Guards Scoochie Smith (Red Scare) and Chris Warren (Florida TNT) round out the All-Tournament squad.
Blue Collar U becomes the fourth straight alumni team to win the TBT title, joining Carmen’s Crew (The Ohio State University, 2019), the Golden Eagles (Marquette University, 2020) and Boeheim’s Army (Syracuse University, 2021). College alumni teams have won five of the nine TBT titles. Overseas Elite leads TBT with four titles (2015-2018).
Blue Collar coach Adam Bauman took home the Coach of the Year award, while Americana for Autism’s Griffin Taylor was named the GM of the Year.