Steal by rice seals Boeheim’s Army’s first trip to TBT finals

Boeheim's Army Florida TNT
Photo Credit: Ben Solomon, TBT.

Boeheim’s Army dominated the Elam Ending portion of a game for the second time in 24 hours, outscoring Florida TNT by a 13-6 margin to pull out a 66-64 victory and advance to the championship game of The Basketball Tournament. Specifically, it was Tyrese Rice who did the dominating, as he poured in all 13 points, including eight straight to open the Elam Ending and put the Army in front for good.

Rice led all players in the game with 24 points and seven assists, rolling up 14 of those points in the fourth quarter alone. Chris McCullough was his right-hand man, finishing with 18 points as the duo combined for 22 of the 24 Boeheim’s Army fourth quarter points and also ran off a 10-0 run to close the first half to keep the Army in the game. C.J. Fair and Tyler Lydon each chipped in with six points, Fair also posting a team-leading eight rebounds.

Keith Clanton was a horse for Florida TNT, hitting 8-of-11 shots from the floor as he amassed an 18-point, 16-rebound double. Kenney Boynton backed his with a dozen points and Dominique Jones also had a double-double, finishing with ten points and ten boards. Brandon Robinson and Christopher Warren each connected on three triples for nine points apiece.

Florida TNT controlled the opening 15 minutes of play, posting an 8-2 run to start the contest and later adding nine straight points for a 19-8 lead before the end of the opening quarter. Boeheim’s Army struck back after the second burst with seven straight markers, getting a Keifer Sykes three and a pair of C.J. Fair buckets around the first quarter break.

TNT went off again shortly after that, using a 9-2 run to rebuild their double-digit advantage at 30-19 just over three minutes into the second quarter.

In the final three minutes of the first half, McCullough and Rice rang up ten unanswered points to draw Boeheim’s Army within a single point at half. McCullough scored three times near the basket, the final a lay-up off an assist from Rice that trimmed the Florida TNT lead to 34-33 at halftime.

TNT scored the first six points out of the break as the Army went scoreless for nearly four minutes. The Florida TNT lead ranged between seven and three points for the remainder of the quarter and settled at 47-42 when the third period expired.

McCullough took over at the start of the fourth quarter, going on a personal 8-2 run. The big man put back his own miss to trigger a three-point play, then followed a TNT basket with a right elbow jumper and a swished left wing three for Boeheim’s Army’s first lead of the day at 50-49.

» Related: Boeheim’s Army tops Golden Eagles to head to TBT semifinals

Florida TNT responded by scoring on their next three possessions, capped by a three for a 56-50 lead. The Army halved the margin, but a foul with 3:58 remaining led to a pair of TNT foul shots and the Elam Ending going into effect with Florida TNT holding a 58-53 lead.

Rice scored the next eight points of the game, hitting a pair of transition threes around a lay-up. TNT scored to break the run, but Rice made the first of a pair of foul shots for a 62-60 lead.

Florida TNT answered with a basket, then tacked on two free throws for a 64-62 lead, getting within a single basket of victory. Rice dropped in a floater from the right side to tie the game.

Two possessions later, Rice picked Kenny Boynton’s pocket and took off with the ball. He nearly mishandled it going down the court, but Rice was able to gather it and lay it in for the winning basket.

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About Jim Stechschulte 894 Articles
A 1996 graduate of Syracuse University, Jim has reported on Syracuse sports for the Syracuse University Alumni Club of Southern California on nearly a decade. He has also written a fantasy basketball column published by He currently resides in Syracuse.