In what was a battle between former Syracuse Orange and Marquette basketball alumni in The Basketball Tournament, the Golden Eagles and Boeheim’s Army squared off for a shot at the Final Four and $2.0 million prize in Baltimore. The Army saw its zone dissected in the first half and despite a monster comeback in the second, the Golden Eagles outshot BA down the stretch and won 90-86.
Demetris Nichols caught fire in the first quarter from distance, knocking down three triples to give BA an early lead. But the Army went cold in the second quarter, eventually missing 10-of-11 shots during one stretch which led to a 9-0 run by the Golden Eagles. Giving up 12-20 from distance in the first half, the army trailed 48-37 at the intermission.
The Marquette alumni picked up right where they left off in the first, knocking down shots against the 2-3 zone to begin the second. Boeheim’s Army head coach Ryan Blackwell quickly made the shift to man-to-man and the Army was able to edge closer on a 4-0 run by Eric Devendorf to cut it to 10.
The army kept chipping away at the lead, going to a three-guard lineup, getting the ball inside the paint and earning trips to the free-throw line. Behind solid play, the Army cut the lead to just one point going into the fourth.
The Golden Eagles and Boeheim’s Army continued to go back and forth throughout the game’s final quarter and Hakim Warrick turned back the clock when he dunked on a defender for a three-point play.
Travis Diener would hit a three just before the Elam Ending went into effect, giving the Golden Eagles a three point cushion and he’d be the one to author the game’s final bucket, draining another deep bomb to push GE past BA and into the Final Four.
The ride is now over for Boeheim’s Army but it was fun while it lasted. The Golden Eagles will now move on to Baltimore to take on Overseas Elite on Thursday. For those interested, that game will tip at 7 pm and will air on ESPN.