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In a back-and-forth battle against No. 11 seed Team Heartfire, No. 3 seed Boeheim’s Army won 68-62 in the second round of The Basketball Tournament on Monday. Keifer Sykes led the team off with 17 points on nine shots off the bench.
Here are three takeaways from Boeheim’s Army’s victory over Team Heartfire:
During its opening game against the Forces of Seoul, Boeheim’s Army’s notorious 2-3 zone was neutralized by the opposition. BA eventually moved into a man-to-man look, keeping Forces of Seoul to just three fourth-quarter points.
Against Team Heartfire, Boeheim’s Army wasted no time with its normal setup by opening the game with a man-to-man defense. On its first possession of the game, this change proved dividends as Tyrese Rice stole the ball before hitting D.J. Kennedy for a transition basket.
In the second half, however, Boeheim’s Army’s defensive changes weren’t enough to stop a comeback from Team Heartfire. After entering the third period with a 12-point lead, Team Heartfire started to catch fire by taking advantage of one-on-one opportunities.
At the beginning of the Elam Ending, Heartfire was able to score from deep as Rice missed a layup and was unable to get back on the defensive end in transition. But later, Boeheim’s Army displayed strong defense again as Rice made up for his missed layup by swiping the ball away from a driving opposing player.
Rice got the ball off the steal and threw it to Chris McCullough, who finished with a two-hand slam. Boeheim’s Army only needed one more basket to win — which they did off another basket from McCullough two minutes later.
Bench steps up
After Rice carried Boeheim’s Army’s offensive load in the first round, Sykes and C.J. Fair took their turn in the second round.
Early in the first quarter, Sykes and Fair entered the game for BA and quickly made an impact. Sykes was the first to score off the bench, hitting a 3-pointer to regain the lead after Boeheim’s Army trailed for two minutes.
Team Heartfire fought back to bring the game within four during the second quarter. Fair worked his way into the paint but was unable to connect on a turnaround fadeaway jumper. But McCullough, who shined off the bench in BA’s last game, was able to get the rebound and hit Sykes for a deep 3. Less than a minute later, Fair found himself wide-open on the right corner, extending Boeheim’s Army’s lead to 26-16.
Sykes continued to make an impact in the second half by earning free throw attempts to bring Boeheim’s Army within a point of Team Heartfire’s new lead. During the free throws, Eric Devendorf came into the game and began to add to Sykes scoring with four points.
By the end of the outing, the bench finished with 32 points, led by Sykes, who recorded 17.
DeAndre Kane takes over
After not starting against Forces of Seoul and only playing 15 minutes off the bench, DeAndre Kane made his way into the opening lineup Monday night.
Kane’s scoring impact wasn’t apparent during the first half, as he only had five points in both periods. In the second half, Kane made most of his impact off the ball, hustling for rebounds and tiring out Team Heartfire’s big men.
At the beginning of the second half, Kane chased an offensive rebound that was headed for the bleachers. Kane was able to grab the ball before launching it to Kennedy who was already waiting under the basket for the easy score.
A minute later, Kane took his own opportunity to score, shooting a 3 that landed short from the left wing. Instead of going back on defense, Kane shot back into the paint to get his own rebound. He successfully got the ball before passing to Malachi Richardson, who drew a foul and added to Boeheim’s Army’s lead. Kane finished with six points, seven rebounds and three assists.
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