Eric Devendorf displayed the same offensive versatility that made him a star at Syracuse, leading Boeheim's Army to a tightly contested 86-82 victory over the Broad Street Bullies in the second round of The Basketball Tournament. He led the team with 19 points on 8-15 shooting. With the win, Boeheim's Army advances to the Super 16, where they will face The Untouchables.
The Untouchables are a team made up of primarily of former Pittsburgh players, setting up a rivalry game of sorts. It will tip-off at 7:00pm Eastern on Thursday and will be televised on ESPN2.
"I think every win means a lot because each one is going to be such a battle," Defendorf said. "I think our success came from being relentless and not giving up even after some bad plays and scores on the other end."
A battle it was, though it did not look like that for much of the first half. Boeheim's Army raced out to a 10-2 lead and pushed the advantage to double digits midway through the first half. But the Bullies fought through an early deficit, and took a one point lead right after halftime after an 8-0 run.
Boeheim's Army took the lead back immediately, and even pushed the lead back up to eight on more than one occasion. Every time the Bullies cut the lead to one possession, Boeheim's Army responded. Whether it was a Baye Keita put back, Brandon Triche bucket, Devendorf layup or Willie Deane jumper, there was always an answer to game pressure.
The most precarious situation came late. A tip-in by the Bullies with 1:32 left cut the lead to two. Devendorf was inserted into the game, and promptly drove past his defender for an easy layup.
"I have confidence in myself no matter who it is against," Defendorf said. "That's just what I was taught."
Moments later, with the lead back to two, the Bullies had the ball with a chance to tie or take the lead. With just 11.6 seconds left to start the possession, there was not much time to waste. Former Temple guard Khalif Wyatt drove the lane and attempted a contested floater over Hakim Warrick.
The shot clanged off the back rim, and Triche grabbed the rebound. He was fouled with 1.1 seconds left and drilled both free-throws to seal the victory.
Devendorf, Warrick, Triche, C.J. Fair and Rick Jackson all scored in double figures. Keita and Jackson led the team in rebounding with nine and seven respectively. Warrick's 12 points came on just seven shots, and included yet another monster dunk.
Boeheim's Army shot over 49% from the floor, while they held the Bullies to just 41% shooting. They also won the rebounding battle 42-38.
The Bullies were led by Scootie Randall who finished with 22 points and 15 rebounds. Wyatt added 11 points, seven assists and four rebounds. He shot just 4-15 from the floor, however, including 0-10 from three-point range.
Boeheim's Army's next opponent, The Untouchables, features such former Pitt Panthers as Brad Wanamaker, Gilbert Brown, Levance Fields and Talib Zanna. Rudy Gay is listed on the roster, but did not play in their first two games.