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Boeheim’s Army collapses versus Herd Team in TBT Elite Eight

Boeheim’s Army ends its 2023 TBT run on a sour note.

NCAA Basketball: Syracuse at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

All good things must eventually come to an end, and that proved to be true Sunday afternoon for Boeheim’s Army in the 2023 TBT Elite Eight versus Herd Team in an 88-71 road loss, sending the army home for the rest of the summer. (Cheer up Syracuse Orange fans, football camp starts in two days)

After winning its first three games in this year’s TBT by an average of 13 points, Boeheim’s Army never lead by more than seven points versus the Herd Team in a matchup between two of the last four alumni teams remaining in the tournament. Although Boeheim’s Army relied mainly on coming back in big-time fashion after some sluggish starts, it couldn’t do so in West Virginia as the Herd Team caught fire from the field.

The 2021 TBT champs saw a slim lead transform into a double-digit hole that was too big to get out of, most notably in the third quarter as the Herd Team outscored Boeheim’s Army 34-13. Defensively, Boeheim’s Army couldn’t contain Herd Team’s offense powered by the all-around production of Jon Elmore (17 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists), Rob Gray (20 points), Jacorey Williams (16 points) and Taevion Kinsey (15 points).

It was a complete defensive meltdown for Boeheim’s Army, which gave up a 21-12 advantage in fastbreak points and a 44-22 margin in points in the paint.

The offensive end for Boeheim’s Army fared no better. Grant Riller, coming off a tournament-high 29 points versus Blue Collar U on Friday night, shot just 2/8 from the field by halftime. After averaging over 25 points per game in the TBT so far, Riller cooled off and finished with 15 points on 4/13 shooting.

Deandre Kane shined early with 13 points on 4/6 shooting in the first half, but managed just two points in the second half as the offense for Boeheim’s Army spiraled out of control. Boeheim’s Army shot 36% from the field and couldn’t generate enough consistency versus a hungry Herd Team that shot the lights out of the ball, ending the game shooting above 50% from the field and 10/19 from three.

Jamil Wilson and Chris McCullough also reached double-digit point totals, albeit on low efficiency. Unlike their TBT performance so far, the scoring for Boeheim’s Army came uneasy and grinded to a complete halt.

The rest of the team struggled from the jump, especially a limited bench which was outscored 37-15 and failed to give Boeheim’s Army any reliable spark as the game was slipping away.

Boeheim’s Army started off sluggish on defense mainly because of miscommunications, leading to plays like this alley-oop slam by James Kelly from Elmore down below. First half foul trouble by McCullough and Rakeem Christmas further forced Boeheim’s Army to go small, play fast and rely mainly on its perimeter talent - translating into too many easy looks for the Herd Team.

The Herd Team caught fire and never really looked back by the time the third quarter came around. A 17-0 run to kick-off the second half saw Boeheim’s Army go from up five points to down by as much as 16 points (67-51).

Boeheim’s Army ended its 2023 TBT run right in the middle when you compare its performances the past two years: far better than the quick exit in 2022, but definitely not the juggernaut it became when it won the tournament in 2021.