Fresh off of game-winner, Mo Creek 'locked in' ahead of TBT Championship
After advancing to the Sweet 16 in back-to-back years, Team Sideline Cancer (TSC) was ready for a deeper run heading into 'The Basketball Tournament' this year. When COVID caused so many leagues to shut down, it also impacted the schedule and tournament field for TBT. A field that was normally 64 teams had been cut by more than half, down to just 24 teams.
For Sideline Cancer, they were ready for the battle, but it was already one that would be uphill as the TBT ranked them No. 22. For former IU guard Mo Creek, he was coming in with the expectation of winning it all, however.
"This is probably the most focused we've been. We all came in with a goal and knew what happened last year. We had a goal in mind to get to a championship and for us to be here, it just shows you how locked in we are," Creek said on Indiana Sports Beat. "We took it personal as we were ranked 22 out of 24 teams... We had that chip on our shoulder."
In a single-elimination tournament, it's all about matchups and throughout this year's event, Sideline Cancer was continuously faced with a certain matchup that people thought they wouldn't be able to overcome. That included beating Boeheim's Army in the Elite Eight, a team that knocked them out last year. Then, in the Final Four they faced Overseas Elite, which was a four-time winner (2015-18). After losing in the Final Four last season, Overseas Elite added more firepower to its team and that was with former NBA guard Joe Johnson.
"He's an NBA vet. I told him after the game, he's so poised and makes the game easy. Playing against someone like that, you learn a lot about the game," Creek said. "He was an All-NBA, elite scorer and did it with a lot of teams."
While Johnson was extremely effective, it was Creek who was able to get the last shot off and made it count as he hit the game-winner to send Sideline Cancer into the Finals.
"The thing about it was I was looking for him [Marcus Keene] to shoot it and he said the ball slipped so he had to pass it. He called my name so it forced me to go to the ball. I caught it with one hand and I knew when I got the ball it was me," Creek explained. "I got this ultra quick release, I knew it was going in. I had just missed one right before that was in and out... it felt great."
So far, Creek is averaging 14.5 points per game, but it is a college teammate that Creek says is the heart and soul of the team.
"Yeah Remy [Abell] is what I call the glue that sticks the people together. He's our heart and soul. Without Remy, this wouldn't be possible," Creek said. "I have to give a whole shoutout to that man. he's the one that brought everyone together and he was the one who told me and Jermaine [Marshall] to play on this team three or four years ago... That man deserves an NBA shot... he deserves a lot more credit than he gets."
Sideline Cancer takes on the Golden Eagles, a Marquette alumni team and the same team that defeated Sideline Cancer in 2019, on Tuesday night at 7 pm on ESPN for the winner-take-all $1 million prize.
To listen to the interview in its entirety, click on the tweet below.