The story behind the ‘Elam Ending’


CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – If you’ve been watching The Basketball Tournament games the last few days, you know about the ‘Elam Ending’.

An exciting, new, way to end basketball games that takes the game clock away; and makes it so the first team to hit a certain score wins.

The ‘Elam Ending’ was first invented in 2007 by Nick Elam; “a guy who just loves the game of basketball and wanted to find a way to make game endings more exciting.”

So how is that target score determined? 

For TBT, the first time the game clock is stopped with four minutes or less left in the game, they will stop the clock permanently, and set a target score; which is equal to the leading team’s score plus eight. 

Why ‘eight points’ for TBT?

“Just based on the scoring rate and style of play in TBT,” said Elam. “That ‘plus eight’ setting has worked really well. We’ve seen in years passed, that allows us to get right around four minutes worth of game time in the late stages. And what’s great about it is it’s four minutes of really great quality basketball; really up and down style. Very different from what you see in a time format where, again, it basically just becomes a free throw shooting contest at the end.”

Elam went on to say that right now, at the end of most basketball games, if a team is up by something like ten points, you will start to see the crowd leaving.

But with the ‘Elam Ending’, the game stays competitive; as we saw in the ‘Herd That’ vs. ‘Team 23’ game Monday night.

‘Herd That’ was down by as many as ten points late in the game, but their defense stepped it up in the ‘Elam Ending’ and they were able to tie the game at 71; with the target score set at 72.

‘Team 23’ still won, but the end of the game was still competitive. They weren’t playing against the clock, just each other.

The West Virginia region is now over. And ‘Team 23’ and ‘Sideline Cancer’ are headed to Dayton for the round of eight. 

You can continue watching these games on ESPN2.

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