For the first time in seven attempts, Boeheim's Army has finally broken through and won the $1 million prize at The Basketball Tournament, defeating Team 23, 69-67, with Keifer Sykes making the game-winning shot Tuesday night.
The team made up mostly of former Orange stars powered its way through six games to reach the title contest in Dayton, Ohio. It was the first time Boeheim's Army ever reached the championship game, and they wouldn't let it go to waste with Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim sitting courtside and watching the team that bears his name.
No one was more dominant on the floor than Sykes, who kept Boeheim's Army in control long before he sank the game-winner. As the Elam Ending came into play with Boeheim's Army up 61-60, it was Sykes who drew a foul on a three-point attempt and knocked down all three shots to bring his team within two possessions of a win.
Sykes finished with a game-high 21 points to go with four rebounds and three assists. Only one other player for Boeheim's Army finished in double-digit scoring—DJ Kennedy with 11 points, eight boards and two assists.
It was a late surge led by Sykes, of course, that put Boeheim's Army back in contention for the win. A layup by Kennedy after Sykes' three makes at the line finished off a 14-4 run and put Boeheim's Army's three points away from victory.
Unfortunately, Team 23's Eric Griffin (16 points, seven rebounds) drilled a three-pointer to make it 66-65 with Eric Washington (10 points, five rebounds, four assists) getting to the line shortly after to put Team 23 up 67-66.
That set the stakes for the final possessions: any made bucket by Team 23 and they would clinch the $1 million prize. Boeheim's Army would need to sink a three to win the game before that happened.
Four potential game-winning shots were attempted before Sykes was able to set himself on the move and launch the shot that sent Team 23 home empty-handed.
Shams Charania @ShamsCharania
After hitting a game-winner to win The Basketball Tournament $1M prize, guard Keifer Sykes has agreed to a deal with the Indiana Pacers, sources tell <a href="https://twitter.com/TheAthletic?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@TheAthletic</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/Stadium?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Stadium</a>.
Despite shooting 38 percent from the floor on the night—and 45 percent from behind the arc—Boeheim's Army won in all the ways a Syracuse team is used to succeeding. Boeheim's Army out-rebounded Team 23, 39-33, went 16-of-17 at the free-throw line, got 39 points from their bench and controlled the battle for second-chance points, 15-4.
All of it led to Sykes' game-winner from the wing. The former University of Wisconsin-Green Bay alum might not have played for Syracuse in college, but he'll forever be associated with Boeheim's Army and the team's first time winning TBT.