A battle tested FOE matched the intensity for the first time this Tournament in the first-half and it showed as they led for the majority of the first half and held a one point lead at the break. Despite 7 turnovers at the half, it was clear that Maalik Wayns’ presence was key as FOE led for the first time at the half for the Tournament.
The second half was a similar story as FOE continued to nurse a small lead. That was until about the 8 minute mark when a 10-4 run by FOE really was the turning point as an 11 point lead at the time just continued to grow after that.
Despite a timeout break where it appeared that the Untouchables were going to make a run, an 8-0 run by FOE that was lead by Elijah Johnson’s back-to-back threes really put this game out of reach.
The Untouchables still had multiple players in double-digits as that’s really been their key to victory. However, FOE’s consistent play for 36 minutes and Wayns return to the team after missing the first two games due to the NBA Summer League was just too much for the Untouchables.
“The energy and we just started a lot better than we did in the past two games,”said Tyshawn Taylor who had 11 points. “The past two games we were playing from behind, where in this game we started off on the right track.”
As for Wayns who clearly was the difference maker just said that it felt good to be back and playing with his friends. He also added that he was especially happy that they held it down for the first two games.
If you didn’t believe that Syracuse fans traveled, then when you saw the ball tip at the Steinberg Wellness Center you had to believe it then as the gym erupted with the traditional Orange hand clap until the first Syracuse basket. However, Team Fancy’s Zamal Nixon wasn’t shook by the fan reaction as his five quick points to give Fancy a 5-0 lead left Orange fans standing a bit longer than they did in the previous two games.
A near fight broke out around 2:50 mark as the Army trailed 25-23 which restarted the lets go orange chants and ended up creating a 5-0 run to put the Army up three at the half.
With NFL Pro Bowl receiver Julio Jones on hand in favor of Team Fancy, the Army weren’t phased a an 11-3 run with about six minutes remaining to gave them a 49-43 lead. Though, Fancy responded with a 12-4 run of their own and re-took the lead with 2:15 remaining.
Trailing by one with a minute remaining, the Army responded with an electrifying three pointer from Brandon Triche bringing the Orange fans to their feet.
“I missed a few open ones earlier in the game,” said Triche. “So I feel like I was due for one.”
Leading 61-59, and despite popping out his finger earlier in the game, Triche’s two free throws would extend the Army’s lead to four which would eventually seal it for the Army as they would go onto win 65-61.
“We have the greatest fans in the world,” said Donte Greene who had 14 points. “I’ve always said that. I compare them to soccer fans. They’re passionate and have a very high intensity. The support they give us is like no other.”
The Army will take on FOE at 12:00pm Eastern time.
“The last couple of years we’ve had a really good squad,”said Devendorf. “But we were able to get together before the Tournament and get some good practices in. I feel like we’re really well balanced. We’ve got shooters all over the floor, so pick your poison.”