Boeheim’s Army had a 12-point halftime lead, but gave it all back and then some before rallying to pull out a 68-62 victory over Team Heartfire in The Basketball Tournament play on Monday night.
Heartfire ripped off an 18-3 run capped with 13 straight points to take a three-point lead just past the midpoint of the third quarter, but the Army responded to take a 51-47 lead. Heartfire came back, twice taking a two-point lead in the fourth quarter, the latter coming on the first score of the Elam’s Ending portion of the game. Boeheim’s Army struck back with nine of the game’s final ten points to secure the contest.
Keifer Sykes paced Boeheim’s Army with 17 points, connecting on 3-of-5 threes in the game, as the lone consistent source of offense on the night. D.J. Kennedy was the only other member of the Army to crack double digits, finishing with ten points to go with game highs of eight rebounds and three steals. Chris McCullough had nine points, including the final two baskets, while Tyrese Rice added eight.
Tevin Mack paced Heartfire with 14 points and seven rebounds while Aaron Epps backed him with 13 points, hitting three triples in the game. King McClure dropped in nine points while Jared Wilson-Frame chipped in with eight.
The Army had their way for most of the first half. They needed just over three minutes in the first quarter to run off nine straight points to take an eight-point advantage. Sykes rattled in a three to start the run, then DeAndre Kane followed with a lay-up. C.J. Fair added two foul shots, then Sykes capped the burst with a pull-up jumper from the right side to give Boeheim’s Army an 18-10 lead.
Heartfire struck back with the next six points, including the first basket of the second quarter, but the Army responded with a 10-0 run. Eric Devendorf finished a drive with a lefty lay-up to trigger things and Sykes connected on a deep straightaway three. Fair swished a three from the right corner to make it a double-digit lead, then added a lefty scoop for a 28-16 advantage less than four minutes into the second.
Once again, Team Heartfire responded, posting seven straight points, but Boeheim’s Army did them one better, posting the next eight. Kennedy was fouled on a putback and converted both foul shots, then Kane and Rice each tacked on a triple for the biggest lead of the night at 36-23.
Heartfire opened the third quarter by blowing the doors off the Army, posting their 18-3 run for a 44-41 lead. Devendorf and Sykes led a 10-3 run to put Boeheim’s Army back in front, each scoring four points.
Heartfire added a basket to clip the Army’s lead to 51-49, then would eventually go up by a deuce twice, including with the a three-pointer to open the Elam’s Ending phase.
Rice swished a right wing three to put Boeheim’s Army back on top, then Kennedy followed his miss for a three-point edge. McCullough added a fast break dunk, then a mid-range jumper from the left side just before the shot clock to end the game.