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2016 The Basketball Tournament: Always A Brave 89, Golden Eagles Alumni 81

The former Marquette players’ quest for the $2 million prize falls short in the quarterfinal round.

NCAA Basketball Tournament - Florida v Marquette

Darius Johnson-Odom and Dwight Buycks both scored over 20 points on Saturday night, but it wasn’t enough as #6 seed Golden Eagles Alumni fell, 89-81, to #9 seed Always A Brave in the quarterfinals of the 2016 edition of The Basketball Tournament. That knocks the former Marquette players out of the tournament and ends their quest for the $2 million winner-take-all prize three wins short.

AAB went on a late 18-3 run that seemed to end things, but DJO got white hot at the very end of the game, hitting two consecutive three-pointers that carved into the lead with less than a minute to play. That sudden hot streak ended up getting him a foul call on his next long range attempt, but he uncharacteristically missed the first two (including an air ball on the first one) and whatever brief glimmer of a chance of winning was snuffed out.

It wasn’t the first run of the game for Always A Brave, as GEA had given up a 19-5 first half burst that had sent them into a double digit deficit. The Marquette alumni bounced back, though, hitting a flurry of three pointers including a Joe Chapman marker from the corner to beat the halftime buzzer, and Dwight Buycks scored the first five points of the second half to give GEA a 24-3 run. That gave them an eight point lead, but when the opponent has a core of guys who gave Bradley University their first Sweet 16 appearance in over 50 years, you knew they weren’t going to be overwhelmed by the moment.

Marcus Sommerville scored 22 of his game high 25 points in the second half to lead Always A Brave to victory. Johnson-Odom had 23 to lead the Marquette guys, and Buycks added 21 to the effort.

It was a fun ride while it lasted, and it was a blast to have Marquette basketball to cheer for in July. It’ll take another strong voting effort to put Golden Eagles Alumni back into The Basketball Tournament in 2017, but they finished this year’s balloting with the ninth highest point total. There’s no reason to think that they can’t make another run at the cash next year.