It certainly wasn’t easy, but Boeheim’s Army escaped an overtime thriller 92-91 with 20th & Olney in The Basketball Tournament on Sunday, in what was essentially a Round of 32 game for the event.
Trailing 91-89 with under one minute to play in the extra frame, Hakim Warrick sank one of two free throws to cut the lead to one. Olney’s Rodney Green attacked the basket with 20 seconds left, but Baye Keita did what he so often did for the Syracuse Orange during his tenure. He protected the rim and blocked the shot.
That led to a transition opportunity, which resulted in Olu Famutimi, a former Arkansas wing, drawing a foul on a layup attempt. He calmly sank both free-throws to give Boeheim’s Army a one point lead with just 14 seconds remaining.
Boeheim’s Army pressured the 20th & Olney squad, resulting in a bad pass from Tyreek Duran, which was stolen by Warrick to end the game.
Despite the close back and forth action in overtime, the game looked to be slipping away from Boeheim’s Army. 20th & Olney closed the first half on a 15-3 run to take a five point lead into intermission.
After Boeheim’s Army closed the gap to 47-46, Olney went on a 12-3 run to take create a double-digit advantage. Boeheim’s Army needed to respond, and that’s exactly what they did.
Behind Terrence Roberts, Demetris Nichols, Eric Devendorf and Hakim Warrick, they went on an extended 30-11 run to take a sizeable nine point lead with just six minutes remaining. But Olney bounced back and tied the game minutes later, with most of their points coming from the free-throw line.
Neither team could score over the final three minutes of regulation, sending the game into over time knotted at 85. That set up the late dramatics.
Eric Devendorf of Boeheim’s Army and Steven Smith of 20th & Olney were both ejected in overtime due to an altercation following a loose ball. Smith appeared to initiate the scuffle, both players were tangled up and jawing at each other. Devendorf had picked up a technical earlier in the game in similar fashion.
20th & Olney shot 47.5% from the field compared to 47.3% for Boeheim’s Army. Olney, however, held a significant advantage from beyond the arc, making 11 of their 22 shots (50%) compared to just 6-19 from Boeheim’s Army (31.6%).
Boeheim’s Army dominated the glass 43-34 and had 10 more points in the paint.
Rodney Green led Olney with 24 points on 8-12 shooting. He added six rebounds and four assists. Tyrone Garland poured in 21 points, while the ejected Smith contributed 19.
Boeheim’s Army was led by Demetris Nichols for the second consecutive game. He had a game-high 28 points on 10-18 shooting (3-6 from three). Eric Devendorf scored 18 before his ejection to go along with five assists, while Hakim Warrick chipped in 17 points and eight rebounds.
Boeheim’s Army advances to the Super 17 in Chicago to face Liberty Ballers at 6:45pm eastern on Friday, July 24th. The Liberty Ballers feature Villanova and Siena alums, led by former Wildcat Antonio Pena.