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The Basketball Tournament 2017: #1 Golden Eagles 103, #16 Midwest Dream Squad 89

An ugly start got straightened out as the Marquette alumni coasted in easily to victory in their opening round game.

Davante Gardner’s unique skill set helped pave the way to victory for Golden Eagles on Saturday night.
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Golden Eagles, the team of Marquette alumni, kicked off their attempt to win a $2 million grand prize in the 2017 edition of The Basketball Tournament on Saturday night, picking up a 103-89 victory against Midwest Dream Squad. The MU squad, which is seeded #1 in the Midwest Region, advances to the second round which will be played on Sunday afternoon.

Six different Golden Eagles scored in double digits, led by Dwight Buycks with 21 points, all on three-pointers. The Milwaukee native connected on seven of his eight long range attempts, including a stretch where he drained a long rang J on four straight possessions in the second half. Joel Box matched Buycks’ total in the losing effort for Midwest Dream Squad.

Four Factors

Golden Eagles Category MW Dream Squad
Golden Eagles Category MW Dream Squad
78.3% eFG% 54.1%
15.9% TO% 14.5%
12.5% OR% 35.7%
23.3% FTR 16.2%
1.36 Pts/Poss 1.18

Things started off shaky for Golden Eagles, much like they did in the first round a year ago. I don’t know if they were trying to take it a little bit easy since they were expecting to play another game tomorrow or if they just weren’t clicking as a team early or if MDS knew their best chance was to go as hard as possible at GE from the get-go. Either way, the Marquette guys looked sloppy and out of sorts for most of the first half.

Then they remembered that Davante Gardner was on their team, and the offense became “Get Ox on a favorable matchup and let him go wild.” After a series of and-1 postup layups by the Virginia native, Golden Eagles started to get their mojo together. A 14-4 run late in the first half helped them make a small comeback and led 44-41 at halftime.

The section of the game dominated by Gardner ended up being indicative of how the rest of the game would go for the MU alumni. Buycks went bananas for a while as previously mentioned, then Darius Johnson-Odom had a fantastic stretch on offense, and then he passed the baton to Maurice Acker to get some shine in as well. At that point, Golden Eagles was up by 20 and coasted comfortably to the final horn.

Up Next: Golden Eagles will be back in action on Sunday afternoon for their second round game in TBT. Tipoff is scheduled for 4:15pm Central time at Renaissance Coliseum in Peoria, but they are the last game of the day and things were running a bit more than 30 minutes behind on Saturday. There’s half as many games, though, so things should be a little closer to on time.

The opponent for Sunday’s game is still up in the air, as the game that will decide it is at halftime at the time of this writing. It’ll either be #8 seed Majerus SLU Crew, a team of Saint Louis alumni, or #9 seed HBC, but the Saint Louis guys have the 46-41 advantage at the break.