Syracuse Basketball: Boeheim’s Army advances, and now it’s payback time

Syracuse basketball, Boeheim's Army (Photo by Nate Shron/Getty Images)
Syracuse basketball, Boeheim's Army (Photo by Nate Shron/Getty Images) /

With legendary former Syracuse basketball head coach Jim Boeheim in attendance to cheer on his namesake team, Boeheim’s Army started off a bit slow but then poured it on in winning its opening-round game of the 2023 The Basketball Tournament (“TBT”).

On Monday night from the Syracuse regional of this summer’s TBT, the No. 2 seed Boeheim’s Army dominated No. 7 seed Team Gibson in the paint, and our boys in Orange came away with a 99-83 victory from the Upstate Medical University Arena at the Oncenter War Memorial. This TBT encounter, by the way, was broadcast on ESPN.

Not only was the Hall of Famer Jim Boeheim in attendance on Monday evening, but so, too, was the current ‘Cuse coaching staff, along with many players on the 2023-24 Syracuse basketball roster. I love seeing that kind of support.

Former Syracuse basketball wing Andrew White III was spectacular, tallying 20 points on 8-of-9 shooting from the field and 4-of-5 from beyond the arc. Point guard Grant Riller, who played at the College of Charleston, also produced 20 points.

Boeheim’s Army, with its former Syracuse basketball stars and others, has moved into the TBT’s round of 32.

Other key contributors in the conquest of Team Gibson included former Orange big man Rakeem Christmas, who collected 11 points, and point guard Dwight Buycks Jr., a Marquette alumnus, who generated 15 points.

Small forward BJ Johnson, who suited up for both the ‘Cuse and La Salle in college, had nine points, including a thunderous dunk that made the ESPN SportsCenter Top Ten. As a total unit, Boehiem’s Army shot a solid 50 percent from the field. The squad also held a commanding 60-36 advantage over Team Gibson as it pertained to points in the paint.

So now Boeheim’s Army is set to compete in the round of 32, where it will face a familiar foe. On Wednesday, July 26, beginning at 8 pm on ESPN+, the team will square off against the No. 3 seed The Nerd Team, which has a roster of former Ivy League players and others.

Boeheim’s Army won the TBT in 2021, including the $1 million grand prize. But a summer ago, as the No. 1 seed in the Syracuse regional, it was upset by the No. 4 seed The Nerd Team, 81-74, in the tournament’s round of 32.

It’s payback time. In its first game on Monday afternoon, The Nerd Team defeated the No. 6 seed Happy Valley Hoopers, 54-49, with former Notre Dame guard Prentiss Hubb leading the way with 16 points. Hubb, who is from the Washington, D.C., region, was a four-star prospect in the 2018 class who was recruited by Syracuse basketball before committing to the Fighting Irish.

In this summer’s TBT, the Syracuse regional runs until July 28, with the winner of this site advancing to the event’s quarterfinal round.

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