The Basketball Tournament has become one of the most hyped events for summer basketball. Several teams featuring past collegiate and professional basketball players have been put together to compete for a prize of $1 million. It is an NCAA style tournament with single elimination. The team featuring mostly former Syracuse Orange players, called Boeheim's Army, played their first game on Saturday, facing the NYC Superstars.
Boeheim's Army used two critical runs, one in each half, to pull away from the NYC Superstars and win in somewhat dominating fashion 91-73. The game felt much more lopsided than that score would indicate as Boeheim's Army shot over 57% from the floor, including 47% from beyond the arc, while Syracuse's patented 2-3 zone was used to hold NYC to just 41% overall and 26.5% from three-point range.
The length and size advantage of Boeheim's Army was evident all game, as NYC had trouble attacking the rim. Boeheim's Army finished with five blocks, but they altered several more.
After NYC got out to an early 13-11 lead, Boeheim's Army used an 18-2 run to assert their dominance. Critical in that run were Willie Deane, a former Boston College and Purdue guard, and seven points from former Orange forward Terrence Roberts off the bench. The Army took a 39-30 lead into intermission.
The zone was enormously effective during the first half run, forcing turnovers that allowed Boeheim's Army to get out in transition. They led in fast break points 22-2 on the night and scored 17 points off 11 NYC turnovers.
Boeheim's Army had two runs in the second half, which prevented NYC's thoughts of a comeback. After the lead was trimmed to 46-38, a quick 10-3 run, all scored by Demetris Nichols, pushed the advantage back to 15. Less than a minute later, NYC trimmed the deficit down to 11, but a 14-5 run pushed it up to 20 with under seven minutes left. Boeheim's Army never looked back.
Boeheim's Army was led by big performance from Demetris Nichols, Eric Devendorf and Willie Deane. Nichols led the team in scoring with 24 points on 9-16 shooting (3-6 from deep) and added four rebounds and two assists. Devendorf had a great all-around game with 18 points, seven assists and two boards. He shot 5-11 from the field and 3-6 from three-point range.
Deane looked like the best player on the floor for long stretches. He finished with 16 points on 7-9 shooting, five assists and three rebounds.
Player-coach Lawrence Moten even got into the fun with four points on 2-2 shooting in limited action. Other former Syracuse stars Hakim Warrick and Terrence Roberts combined to score 16 points and 14 rebounds on 6-10 shooting. Each made a three-pointer as well.
NYC Superstars were led by Michael Liander, a former Queens College forward, who scored a game-high 34 points on 13-21 shooting, including 7-13 from beyond the arc. He also snatched 7 rebounds. The rest of the NYC Superstars were just 2-21 from deep.
With the win, Boeheim's Army advances to the winner of 20th & Olney or Max's All Stars on Sunday at 4:15pm eastern.