Tyrese Rice scored the final seven points for Boeheim’s Army, powering the team to a dominant fourth quarter performance to pull out a 65-53 opening round win over Forces of Seoul in The Basketball Tournament. Forces of Seoul had taken a seven-point lead into the final session, but Boeheim’s Army rode the same quintet of players to a 22-3 fourth quarter margin.
Rice paced the team with ten points in the fourth, including a pair of three-pointers, the latter clinching the game, during the Elam’s Ending phase of the contest. He was joined by fellow non-Syracuse alumni DeAndre Kane and D.J. Kennedy, as well as Malachi Richardson and Chris McCullough, down the stretch.
That spectacular fourth quarter effort offset three mostly lackluster periods, as Boeheim’s Army trailed 50-43 with one quarter to play. In particular, the Army struggled for much of the first half, getting out to an 11-4 lead with less than four minutes off the clock, then mustering only a dozen more points before intermission.
Poor shooting was the primary culprit in the first half, as Boeheim’s Army shot just 9-for 31 (29.0 percent) in the opening half and 3-for-11 (27.3 percent) from three-point range. Richardson was the standout on that end of the floor for the Army, as he hit 4-of-5 shots in the first quarter, including 3-of-4 from beyond the arc for an 11-point first quarter. His marksmanship staked Boeheim’s Army to a 16-15 lead after the opening session.
The latter part of the first quarter was the start of what would end as a 25-9 run by Forces of Seoul that staked them to their biggest lead of the day at 29-20 with under four minutes left in the first half. From that point, the Army held them scoreless until intermission and drew within six by the break.
After Forces of Seoul opened the second half with three points, Boeheim’s Army needed one minute and 16 seconds to go on an 11-2 run to knot the game at 34 a side. Rice started to assert himself during this stretch, getting a floater to fall to trigger a three-point play, swishing a triple on the following possession, and capping the run by feeding Richardson for his three-point play.
The Army nosed in front a minute later on a McCullough three, but Forces of Seoul answered with seven straight points to regain control, setting the stage for Boeheim’s Army to make their big comeback.
Rice was a true floor general for Boeheim’s Army, scoring a team-high 20 points and handing out a game-high five assists. Richardson backed him with 19 points, matching Rice’s four three-pointers. McCullough added a dozen points and grabbed eight rebounds, one behind Kennedy’s team-leading nine boards. Kane chipped in with seven points and eight boards.
Torian Graham paced Forces of Seoul with 22 points in the game, connecting on 4-of-9 threes along the way. Brandon Brown backed him with 11 points and Jonathan Arledge chipped in with seven.