Tag: The Basketball Tournament

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Fighting Alumni won The Basketball Tournament in typical Notre Dame style

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Terrence Payne/NBC Sports

BOSTON — The night before a group of Notre Dame alumni played for a $500,000 prize in the inaugural Basketball Tournament, they had a team dinner in Boston. Head coach included.

Mike Brey, who is entering his 15th season at Notre Dame, made the trip from South Bend to Boston this weekend to be with his former players, reminiscing on old stories and catching up on the latest events in each other’s lives.

The good times from Friday night spilled over into Saturday, as the Notre Dame Fighting Alumni defeated tournament favorite Team Barstool, 72-68, to win The Basketball Tournament at Case Gymnasium on the Boston University campus.

“This is a special group to me. A lot of them played together, some of them are from different eras, but it’s been neat,” Brey said.

What are great representation of our program. They truly are an alumni team. They’re all graduates. It’s really the mark of a program when you have guys like that that are together. Even some of my guys who didn’t play have come to support them, so I couldn’t miss it.”

Supporters for both sides, nearly filled the 1,800-seat arena on Saturday night. Team Barstool, named after the popular Boston-based website, drew plenty of college-aged fans to championship game. When its sea of purple Barstool T-shirts shouted one of three “I Believe” chants — made popular by Utah State — the floor began to shake.

“We felt like we were back in college,” Fighting Alumni forward Ryan Ayers said. 

The crowd wasn’t the only reminder of their college days. Neither team led by more than nine, and as the tightly-contested championship game wore on, Brey, who sat opposite the Notre Dame bench, couldn’t resist the urge to coach his players just one more time.

“Get in the post,” he yelled to Tyrone Nash, who led the team with 19 points.

“No threes! Rebound!” he shouted with under a minute to play as the Fighting Alumni held off a Team Barstool comeback.

“It was awesome,” Chris Thomas said. “I heard him say ‘Get the ball to T. Nash’ and ‘Move!’ He was into it just as much as we were. Coach Brey is a big part of who we are as players and people .”

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The Fighting Alumni played with traits of Notre Dame teams that have helped the program win 300 games in Brey’s tenure. Throughout the tournament, it was ball movement, balanced scoring and quality 3-point shooting that guided the Fighting Alumni through the 32-team tournament field and to a big paid day. The Fighting Alumni had a different leading scorer in each of the five games in the first-ever, single-elimination, winner-takes-all Basketball Tournament while shooting 46 percent from three during the entire event.

“[We] even had guys just contributing with steals or loose balls,” Ayers added. “We played out like a team.”

The style of play and the familiarity with one another is what helped the Fighting Alumni overcome a team that boasted four former NBA players in Dahntay Jones, Josh Boone, Andre Barrett and Matt Walsh.

On Saturday night, the Fighting Alumni assisted on 14 of their 26 field goals, while cutting down the turnovers to just eight, something that had plagued the team in Philadelphia during the previous four games. Despite shooting 37 percent from three, its lowest of the tournament, the Fighting Alumni held Team Barstool to its worst 3-point shooting as well, at 27 percent from behind the arc, including 1-for-13 shooting in the second half.

In a tournament that is looking to expand, the Fighting Alumni have already made plans for a repeat. Luke Harangody and Tim Abromaitis, like Brey, were both in attendance, and names like Kyle McAlarney were being tossed around in the post game press conference.

“We’re gonna have to have a shoot off or a play-in or something [for next year],” Thomas said.

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

Mike Brey
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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.

Team Barstool, Notre Dame Fighting Alumni advance to title game of The Basketball Tournament

The Basketball Tournament
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The Basketball Tournament is a 32-team event that has received a substantial amount of attention in recent weeks, thanks to a combination of rosters featuring past college stars and the $500,000 winner-take-all prize that’s on the line. The event tipped off this weekend at Philadelphia University, with the first four rounds being played over the course of three days.

Sunday afternoon the two teams who will compete for that lucrative grand prize on June 28 were determined, with Team Barstool and the Notre Dame Fighting Alumni advancing with victories in the semifinals.

Team Barstool, a squad made up primarily of players from New York and New Jersey, held off Big Apple Basketball in the first semifinal by the final score of 87-81. Dahntay Jones, who played collegiately at both Rutgers and Duke before landing in the NBA, paced Team Barstool with 24 points and former Seton Hall point guard Andre Barrett added 20 to go along with seven assists.

Also playing for Team Barstool this weekend were guards Donnie McGrath (played collegiately at Providence) and Matt Walsh (Florida), and forwards Josh Boone (started as a freshman on UConn’s 2004 national title team) and Justin Burrell (St. John’s). Former Central Connecticut State forward Corsley Edwards scored 24 points to lead Big Apple Basketball, with Smush Parker adding 20 and former Vanderbilt forward Lance Goulbourne tallied a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds.

As for the Notre Dame Fighting Alumni, they left no doubt in their 91-61 win over PeacePlayers International, a team made up primarily of guys now playing professionally overseas. Russell Carter led six Fighting Alumni players in double figures with 20 points, and the highest-scoring Fighting Alumni player who did not attend Notre Dame was former Seton Hall guard Paul Gause (ten points).

Charron Fisher, who once led the nation in scoring at Niagara, led PeacePlayers International with 20 points and former Maryland forward Terrence Morris added 15 to go along with eight rebounds.

Team Barstool and the Notre Dame Fighting Alumni are now one win away from a $500,000 prize, with the game to be played at a site yet to be determined on June 28.