PHILADELPHIA — In less than 23 hours, Boeheim’s Army took two steps toward The Basketball Tournament’s $2 million grand prize. Sunday afternoon, the Army led almost all of the game, but needed a nifty drive from Eric Devendorf to hold onto the lead in the final minute and a pair of Brandon Triche free throws to ice an 86-82 win over the North Broad Street Bullies, a team comprised of Temple alumni.
For the second time in as many games the squad outshot their opponent, this time connecting on 49.3 percent of their field goal attempts while permitting the Bullies to make only 41.4 percent of their shots, including 24.3 percent (9-of-37) from three-point range. All nine members of Boeheim’s Army scored, including five in double figures.
Once again, the Army got off to a 10-2 start. Hakim Warrick stuck a three from the top of the key to start the scoring, followed by Eric Devendorf gliding in on the left side for a lay-in. After a bucket from the Bullies, Brandon Triche struck with a three-ball and Warrick added a baseline fadeaway from the left side for an eight-point margin just over two minutes into the action.
The Bullies ran off seven straight points to get within striking distance, but Devendorf rallied the troops on his own, ringing up another lay-up and a free throw, then fed Darryl Watkins for a lay-up of his own and a six-point lead. Broad Street came back with two scores, but Devendorf hit a pair of triples for a 21-13 lead, forcing a timeout.
The Bullies sliced the margin to three points, but the Army ran off seven straight points for a double-digit lead. Baye Moussa Keita hit a mid-range jumper, then Terrence Roberts added a foul shot. Rick Jackson scored baseline and Willie Deane connected from just inside the arc to make it 28-18 in favor of Boeheim’s Army.
Once more, Broad Street ran off seven unanswered, but again, the Army responded with a run of their own. This time, they used a 10-2 run to take their biggest lead of the game.
Warrick drove from the left elbow for a bank shot, then found himself wide open on the left side for an absolute hammer of a one-handed jam. C.J. Fair came up with a steal and led Triche for a lay-up, followed by Rick Jackson and Devendorf each again scoring inside for a 38-27 lead.
The Bullies regrouped in the final moments of the opening half, cutting the margin to seven points at 39-32 at intermission. They continued their strong play out of the break, ringing up an 8-0 burst to take their first lead at 40-39 and force a Boeheim’s Army timeout.
The stoppage allowed the Army to regroup and they fired up seven straight points after the timeout. Devendorf banked one in to retake the lead and Fair added a mid-range jumper. Keita made one of two at the line, then fed Devendorf on a run out for a lay-up and a 46-40 lead.
A Bullies three halved the lead, but Warrick and Keita each tapped in a teammate’s miss to build the lead up to seven. Boeheim’s Army held off the Bullies for a few minutes, but six straight points eventually chopped the lead down to 58-57.
Fair rose to the occasion by draining a pull-up, then Jackson made the front end of a one-and-one to make the lead four. Fair then got a transition lay-up and Jackson reversed on an offensive rebound for a three-point-play and a 66-58 lead.
Again, Broad Street halved the lead, but Watkins made a pair from the line and scored off the glass to reinstate the eight-point lead. The Bullies again ate into the lead, this time getting it down to three points, but Fair drove for a 72-67 lead. Following a Broad Street three that made it a two-point game, Watkins kept a miss alive and eventually scoring for a 74-70 lead.
With the lead cut down to one, Deane stepped into an 18-footer to make it 76-73. With lead again cut down to one, he added a foul shot to make it 77-75. Fair then scored on consecutive possessions, first getting a three to fall when he was trying to draw a foul, then hanging in the air for a driving floater and an 82-75 lead.
Broad Street replied with five points to cut the Army advantage to 82-80 with 1:32 remaining. Devendorf again drove the left side and finished for a four-point lead. The Bullies got a matching score and Boeheim’s Army called timeout with 29.2 seconds on the clock and 17 seconds on the shot clock.
The offense could not get a good look and the whistle blew for a shot clock violation with 11.6 ticks remaining. The Bullies got a floater in the lane, but it clanged off the back iron. Triche went high to snare the rebound and was fouled with 1.1 seconds on the clock. Triche calmly knocked down both shots at the stripe for an 86-82 win.
Eric Devendorf again took top scorer honors, this time piling up 19 points in the game, including 11 in the opening eight minutes. C.J. Fair had 13 points for the second straight game, this time doing all of his damage in the second half. Hakim Warrick had a dozen points, including ten in the first half, while Rick Jackson and Brandon Triche each added ten points.
Boeheim’s Army will face The Untouchables, a team of Pittsburgh alumni, in the round of 16. That game will be at 7:00pm Eastern Thursday and available on ESPN2 and online at ESPN3.com.