Kids, don’t leave Jamil Wilson open in the corner.
That’s what Red Scare did on Sunday afternoon with Golden Eagles needing just three points to hit the Elam Ending Target Score. It went a little something like this:
That shot was the capper on an 18-8 run by the Marquette alumni squad that gave them what turned out to be (technically) a come from behind victory over the Dayton alumni squad in the first game of The Basketball Tournament’s semifinals. It was an imposing ending for Golden Eagles in what had been a very good and even basketball game up until that point.
There’s not much to be said about the first three quarters of action, quite honestly. It was good basketball, and it was close basketball. Both teams were making shots, so it was fun to watch, no matter what side you wanted to see get the W. Red Scare had the 16-15 lead after the end of the first quarter, but it was 38-34 for Golden Eagles at half. That sounds like it was a big-ish turnaround, but Maurice Acker hit a buzzer beater to provide three-fourth of the margin.
It was still a four point margin at the end of the third quarter, 61-57. The Marquette guys had led by as many as eight points in the frame, but the Dayton crew immediately answered with a 6-0 run to keep things interesting. A layup from Trey Landers and a triple from Darrell Davis quickly flipped that around to a 62-61 Red Scare lead just 43 seconds into the fourth quarter, and that’s really not how you want to start fourth quarters.
Golden Eagles answered with a triple from Jamil Wilson to immediately grab that lead back on the ensuing possession. Darius Johnson-Odom flipped in a layup to make it a four point game again with just a shade over seven minutes to play. Two freebies from Wilson made it 68-62 with under five minutes to go. That’s a 7-0 run to tilt it back in Golden Eagles’ favor, and even extend their lead by two points. Ryan Mikesell broke the run with a floater, but Jamil answered with another three, which led to a tactical foul by DJO to start the Elam Ending with a 68-64 lead.
Landers broke the ice on the untimed session, but DJO got a big ol’ tough guy and-1 to answer for the first three of the eight points needed to win. After an and-1 from Landers on the other end, Wilson got an easy BLOB dunk on a feed from TBT icon Travis Diener, making things happen while standing perfectly still.
That’s five, and you only need eight. Landers — who else — was able to contribute one more free throw to Red Scare’s effort, and then Wilson brought the whole thing to an end with that curl into the corner three.
Quite honestly, it was one of the Marquette team’s better Elam Endings in this tournament. They’ve been a little tight and/or tentative in the untimed session the past two games, but perhaps this game having a close margin the whole way along freed them up when the game was on the line.
Wilson led all players with 23 points, getting five of his 10 three-point attempts to fall in. The Racine native also had seven rebounds, two assists, and a block. DJO had 13/2/2 off the bench for head coach Joe Chapman, while Elgin Cook shook off an early groin strain to add 10 points and three rebounds as the only other Golden Eagles player in double digits. Landers had 21 for Red Scare in the losing effort, while Davis and Devin Oliver had 15 and 10 points respectively.
Up Next: TITLE GAME TUESDAY! Golden Eagles have one more contest standing between them and the $1 million winner-take-all prize. That will come on Tuesday night, with tipoff set for 6pm Central on ESPN. Right now, we don’t know who the opponent will be as the second semifinal has just gotten underway. It’ll either be #2 seed and four-time TBT champion Overseas Elite or #22 seed Sideline Cancer. OE has a 19-15 lead at the end of the first quarter as I wrap up this recap.