The Men of Mackey couldn’t find the magic a second straight time, and fall to Boeheim’s Army, 76-69 in the round of 16 of The Basketball Tournament.
As soon as the reality of Covid-19 set in, The Basketball Tournament for the Purdue Alumni team was destined for disappointment.
The initial slate of former Boilermakers that included Ryan Cline, P. J. Thompson, Grady Eifert, Raphael Davis and Johnny Hill all found themselves unable to play.
What was left was Isaac Haas, Evan Boudreaux, Jacquil Taylor, and Jon Octeus playing with a collection of other former college talent from days past, but the lack of chemistry, and maybe even more important, outside shooting, spelled doom for the Men of Mackey as they went out shooting 5 of 25 from the arc as the Syracus alumni team proved too much for the Men of Mackey despite lowering the deficit to 2 on an And-1 finish by Boudreaux to set the Elam Ending.
The Elam Ending for the uninitiated as in the simplest form: add 8 to the leading team’s score when the clock stops for the first time under 4 minutes. Whatever that target score is, the first team to it wins.
For this game, the magic number was 76, and Boeheim’s army was able to get there on the line after a breakaway lay up attempt resulted in two free throws.
Jon Octeus once again showed his athleticism and impressive physical conditioning, leading the team in minutes and doing a little bit of everything on the floor. He had 12 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 assists.
The big man Isaac Haas was at times impressive and too big for his opponents, but once again he struggled to get the ball consistently and was called for a couple offensive fouls late. He had 12 points to go with 8 rebounds.
Evan Boudreaux had a big late three, but it was his only make on 5 attempts, an 8 point performance that he set against 4 rebounds.
Jacquil Taylor had a relatively quiet 8 minutes, grabbing 2 rebounds and not scoring after being a key piece off the bench in Men of Mackey’s first game of the tournament.
In the end, Syracus’s alumni were too much for the Boilers. Eric Devendorf in particular made big bucket after big bucket, leading the game with 21 points, knocking down tough jumpers and attacking the basket.
But the game was decided at the free throw line, where B’s Army made their way there 32 times, making 28, while the Men of Mackey made 14 out of 17.
Particularly late, when the Elam Ending was in effect, the Men of Mackey’s inability to not foul gave the Orange plenty of oppurtunities for free points.
The hard part of the tournament is that one loss is all it takes to see your team go home, and after a come from behind win, the Men of Mackey ran out of gas late. But this tournament was merely the start of something. Talking to the team’s GM Ryan Kay and Grady Eifert later, originally a part of this year’s team, this was not meant to be a one year run. In a less crazy world, expect the Men of Mackey to be back with even more familiar faces.