The Oneida Daily Dispatch (Oneida, NY)
Boeheim’s Army takes down Florida TNT in Semifinal matchup
Boeheim’s Army has struggled to find a rhythm for this entire tournament. So, it was only natural that the Syracuse University alumni squad had to dig deep once again to advance to its first-ever TBT title game.
Tyrese Rice stole the ball from Florida TNT guard Kenny Boynton and converted a layup at the other end to lead Boeheim’s Army past Florida TNT, 66-64. Rice scored all 13 points for Boeheim’s Army during the Elam Ending.
“I felt like I owed it to the team to get a stop,” said Rice, who finished with a gamehigh 24 points.
Boeheim’s Army missed its first nine three-point attempts, connected on just 20% of its shots from beyond the arc, trailed by 11 points in the first half and didn’t take its first lead until Chris Mccullough hit a three-pointer midway through the fourth quarter.
“We’ve been winning ugly games the entire tournament,” said Rice of his Boeheim’s Army squad, which led for just 30 seconds prior to the Elam Ending.
Rice, whose running layup downed the defending champion Golden Eagles in the Round of 8, is averaging a team-high 15.6 points per game this summer.
“When it comes down to it, he can just make plays,” said Boeheim’s Army coach Jeremy Pope of the former Boston College star. “He does it every time. When we call, he answers. It’s been great to be on this ride with him.”
Mccullough finished with 18 points and seven rebounds, and C.J. Fair contributed six points and eight rebounds in the win for Boeheim’s Army, which won despite shooting just 39% from the field.
“It’s a great win for our team,” said Pope. “These things are hard to come by. It was a tough, gritty win. We’ve got tough, high-character guys. Everyone’s contributions were needed. Everyone fought to the end.”
Keith Clanton had 18 points and 16 rebounds, tied for the most in TBT this summer, in the losing effort for Florida TNT.
Boeheim’s Army advances to the $1 million championship game on Tuesday night, August 3rd at 9:00 PM EST on ESPN.
After the semi-final win, Pope expressed confidence heading into the final game of the tournament.
“Our guys are tough,” he said. “Our foundation is good. We are in a position that we are happy to be in.”