The 2023 TBT kicked off with a bang for the Men of Mackey with a 70-68 upset victory over Team Colorado. The Men of Mackey had four scorers in double figures with Isai Wilkerson (NJIT) leading the way with 14 points on 5-11 form the field. It was his final shot that lifted the Men of Mackey to the victory as he pulled up at the right elbow and banked in a shot for the victory. Evan Maxwell (Liberty) chipped in 13 points while former Boilermakers Nojel Eastern and Kelsey Barlow scored 11 and 10, respectively.
The Men of Mackey struggled throughout the game as they were down ten or more points multiple times but used late runs in the second and fourth quarters to pull the game close. In fact, they led for just 5:52 while Team Colorado held the lead for 28:11. The difference was shooting from behind the arc as Team Colorado struggled going 4-18 (22%) while the Men of Mackey shot 10-22 (40%).
Notably in this game, Nojel Eastern flashed a vast improvement in his all around game from the last time Purdue fans watched him play. He had 6 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1 steal but also shot 2-3 from behind the arc using a right handed jump shot. Robbie Hummel, who is also calling games from the broadcast table, did not get any minutes in the first round game.
The Men of Mackey will face #2 seed Friday Beers on Friday at 6:00pm EST in the Dayton Regional.