Turns out a 17-7 first nine minutes isn’t enough to win a game in The Basketball Tournament.
That’s what happened to Golden Eagles on Tuesday night as they jumped all over #3 seeded Red Scare by the end of the first quarter, but ended up taking a six point loss at the end of the Elam Ending, 62-56. That’s a second round loss for the Marquette alumni team, and the first time that the squad has missed out on at least the quarterfinal round of TBT or hasn’t won at least three games as well, however you want to think about it.
Golden Eagles lead actually peaked at 12 points after Jarvis Williams split a pair of free throws to put them up 17-5 with a minute left in the first quarter. It was kind of all downhill from there, to a certain extent. The lead was down to six less than three minutes into the second period, and while it popped back to 10 pretty quickly and Golden Eagles fended off a push or two from Red Scare, a three-pointer just before the horn from Vee Sanford pulled the home team — it was at UD Arena, after all — within one, 29-28.
The 8-0 run bridging halftime gave Red Scare the lead, and an 11-0 run left the Dayton alumni squad up 41-32. Quite honestly, the fact that this turned into a game eventually is impressive. The Marquette guys got it within five late in the third, 44-39, but a triple at the horn by Red Scare’s CJ Walker turned it into a 49-40 game heading to the final frame.
That’s a 42-23 run in the Dayton squad’s favor over the last 18 minutes. Not good!
Things that are good? Three-pointers from Sacar Anim and Darius Johnson-Odom to open the fourth quarter, and a bucket from Vander Blue knotted the whole thing with 6:49 left showing on the clock. It’s like those bad 18 minutes of hoops didn’t happen. The two teams would score just four points each, with Red Scare taking theirs first and then Golden Eagles grabbing theirs, before the Elam Ending started off an offensive foul by Red Scare’s Jordan Sibert. First to 61 wins.
There’s no other way to say it: Red Scare just looked like the much better team in the untimed Target Score chase. Pretty much nothing went right for Golden Eagles, while everything the Dayton guys did looked high energy and enthusiastic. A pair of free throws from Stef Smith pulled them within one possession of the win, and after two Elgin Cook freebies on the other end, Sibert made up for that offensive foul by cashing the long range Sling Shot winner.
Sibert finished with 19 points to lead all scorers, while Darius Johnson-Odom put in 12 to lead Golden Eagles and end up as their only double digit scorer on the night. He also had six rebounds, which was matched as the team high by both Jamil Wilson and Elgin Cook.
Up Next: Might be nothing, to be honest, and I don’t mean because the Marquette alumni team was eliminated here. From a glance at some post game social media, it certainly feels like this was the final run for the team, and if not the outfit in TBT at all then for sure for more than a few members. It would be possible to keep the whole thing going with a few key additions — Markus Howard, anyone? — but if not, then Golden Eagles goes down as one of the best programs in TBT history. Right now, they wrap up 2022 with a record of 23-6, and that’s the second most wins by any team in TBT history, trailing only four-time champions Overseas Elite.