We saw it all this weekend: a blowout, a squandering of a big lead, an Eric Devendorf ejection, an overtime victory and a Syracuse basketball team moving on to the second weekend in a major tournament.
On Saturday, Boeheim’s Army took care of business over NYCSuperstars, 91-73. Demetris Nichols led the Army with 24 points. Starting guard Eric Devendorf added 18 points and 7 assists. All looked well.
Sunday, however, was a different story. The Army struggled in the first half, which led to a 5-point deficit after the first 18 minutes. Boeheim’s Army, led by 28 points from Nichols, outscored 20th & Olney by 5 in the second half, which sent the game to overtime.
The biggest difference from the first half to the second? Boeheim’s Army switched to a man-to-man attack. Player/coach Lawrence Moten was quoted after the game, “I love Coach Boeheim, but I’m not a zone guy.”
In overtime, Eric Devendorf was ejected and Olu Famutimi hit 2 game-winning free throws to send Boeheim’s Army to Chicago next weekend. Before the ejection, Devendorf added another 18-point game. He still has a quick handle, a gamers-mindset and a will to win – which is something that Syracuse fans will always love with the former Oak Hill guard.
Baye Keita’s block in the final seconds clinched the victory for the Army. “It was all just timing,” Keita told the media after the game. “Baye Moussa Keita made a great block,” Moten said after the game with a smile on his face.
Boeheim’s Army is still hopeful, but unsure, former Syracuse stars Donte Greene and Rick Jackson will join the team in Chicago. Both remain on the roster heading into the next round.
The Army will play Friday night against the Liberty Ballers, a team that consists of both Villanova and Siena graduates, among others. Liberty Ballers defeated Georgetown’s team, DMV’s Finest, on Sunday afternoon. Liberty Ballers is led by former Wildcat Antonio Pena.
Tip off is scheduled for 6:45 p.m. ET on Friday night. The game will be streamed live online.