Mike Brey

Notre Dame Fighting Alumni win first annual $500,000 basketball tournament

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In its first year of existence The Basketball Tournament has garnered a solid amount of attention this summer, with fans starved for some live basketball got the opportunity to watch players they may have remembered from their college (or even professional days). And the 32-team event also drew in squads that didn’t have that much playing experience, with fan voting influencing which teams were allowed to play.

And it didn’t hurt to have a $500,000 winner-take-all prize on the line.

Saturday evening at Case Gym in Boston, the Notre Dame Fighting Alumni and Team Barstool played for the title, with Notre Dame winning by the final score of 72-68. Tyrone Nash, who played at Notre Dame from 2007-11, led the way offensively with 19 points on 8-for-10 shooting. Nash was named MVP of the event.

Three Fighting Alumni finished the game in double figures, with Ryan Ayers (15 points, five rebounds) and Rob Kurz (11 points, three rebounds and three assists) being the others. Chris Thomas, the point guard on Notre Dame’s last Sweet 16 team (2003), tallied a team-high four assists. Of the 11 players on the roster ten were a part of the Notre Dame basketball program as collegians, with former Seton Hall guard Paul Gause being the lone exception.

Team Barstool, which possessed a roster of current and former pros featuring former Duke guard Dahntay Jones (he was last a member of the Atlanta Hawks in October before being waived), was considered by some to be the favorite to win the title before the event began. Jones finished the title game with a game-high 21 points, with Andre Barrett (13 points, six rebounds and five assists), Matt Walsh (12 points) and Josh Boone (12 points, 12 rebounds) joining him in double figures.

However even with four double-digit scorers Team Barstool fell short of winning the cash prize, with the Fighting Alumni’s superior shooting percentages (46 percent to 39 percent from the field; 7-for-19 3PT compared to Barstool’s 7-for-26) that made the difference. Team Barstool also shot 17-for-25 from the foul line, with the Fighting Alumni making 13 of their 16 attempts.

As for what the Fighting Alumni will do with their $500,000, the plan is to donate some of the winnings to Coaches vs. Cancer.

Tom Izzo’s point is valid, but he’s wrong about the new fouling rules

Eron Harris, Tom Izzo
AP Photo/Jae C. Hong
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On Sunday night, after No. 3 Michigan State knocked off No. 23 Providence in the final of the Wooden Legacy, Spartans head coach Tom Izzo made sure to make his feelings known about the new college basketball officiating mandates.

He doesn’t like them.

At all.

“I just think we’re taking the flow of the game away,” Izzo said. “Maybe it’ll change. We’ll play by the same rules everybody else does. But I think I can voice my opinion to say that I don’t agree with it.”

Part of what frustrated Izzo was that, in a matchup between the two best players in college basketball, both Denzel Valentine and Kris Dunn were sent to the bench with foul trouble.

“I didn’t like it either way,” Izzo said. “I didn’t like having Denzel on the bench, and I didn’t even like watching Dunn on the bench.”

“Don’t tweet this now and leave out the officials,” he added, according to CBSSports.com. “It’s not their fault. Because that’s the way they’re mandated to call them. So I am really either blaming the rules committee, which ends up on the coaches somewhat. So I’m looking in the mirror and blaming myself because I should have argued it more maybe. I just don’t think it’s fun to have these guys sitting.”

This is nothing new for Izzo. This was calculated. He basically said the same thing after Michigan State, then No. 1 in the country, beat Oklahoma in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic two seasons ago, when the rules committee tried to implement these same rules. It was his pushback that started the campaign to get rid of the freedom of movement rules.

But here’s the thing: we all knew this was going to happen. We knew there was going to be an adjustment period, for coaches and players and referees alike. In the long run, freedom of movement is good for basketball. It’s part of the reason the NBA is so much fun to watch these days, as their emphasis on the freedom of movement got us out of the days where the Detroit Pistons were winning titles without scoring 80 points.

Physicality is ingrained in college basketball. Coaches teach defense a certain way. Players play defense a certain way. The guys in the NBA are stronger, but the style of play is much more physical in the college game than the pro game. That doesn’t change overnight.

It changes when those rules are enforced and those fouls are called, and, as a result, the players and coaches learn to adjust to them.

Kennesaw State blows eight-point lead in 16 seconds, loses to Elon

Elon Athletics
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Kennesaw State entered Monday night at 1-6 on the season, but with 19 seconds left, it looked like the Owls have their second of the season locked up. Kendrick Ray made a pair of free throws with 19 seconds left to put KSU up 89-81, and all they had to do was avoid a complete meltdown to get out with a win.

They couldn’t.

A Luke Eddy layup with 16 seconds left cut the lead to six, and after KSU’s Nigel Pruitt missed two free throws, Dainan Swoope his a three with seven seconds left to make the score 89-86.

On the ensuing inbounds, Kennesaw State threw the ball away … and then proceeded to foul Eddy when he was shooting a three. This is what that disaster looked like:

Eddy would hit all three threes before, shockingly, KSU turned the ball over again. Elon could not capitalize this time, sending the game to overtime, where the Phoenix outscored the Owls 14-4.

Elon won 104-94.

Here’s what the comeback looked like on the play-by-play:

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