Defending champions advance to Elite 8
Uncle Drew Nem def. Tern-drup For What
Uncle Drew Nem used a 7-0 run to handle Tern-drup For What, 21-8, in a Sweet 16 matchup.
“Yesterday the team we played used a zone, so we talked about that last night,” Notre Dame employee Alex Stone said. “Today was just yesterday coming into fruition — we just had to be patient.”
The team’s superior size and athleticism was apparent as they dominated the inside post play. Its big man, second-year law student Chris Stewart, controlled the paint and had a dazzling post move and lay-in to put his squad up 17-6. He even opened the second half with a jumper from the free thrown line.
“Chris becomes disinterested if you don’t use him,” Stone said. “We made sure to get it inside, get the defense moving around. Wait for them to make a mistake, and find some holes.”
Stone’s team, which consists of students and University employees, reached the Final Four last year.
“Last year we weren’t patient,” Stone said. “We were taking early shots and got frustrated and got down. This year we’ve been cognizant of taking our time on offense. If we’re going to be more athletic than most teams, we better use it or we’d might as well be playing with one hand.”
Stone was quick to point out that his team has a 6-foot-7 player, University employee Harold Swanagan, who did not play today and would be available during the Final Four.
Team 8 def. Stylin’ John and the 23 suits
Closing on a 6-2 run, Team 8 ran away from Stylin’ John and the 23 Suits on their way to a 21-13 victory in the Sweet 16.
Team 8’s offense revolved around its big man, Sorin sophomore Pat Mazza. They used his size to draw defenders down low and open up shots on the perimeter.
“We want everyone to get a touch each possession,” law student Henry Ciocca said. “And getting Pat a touch every possession is key because we work off of him.”
Team 8 took an 11-5 lead into the half and did not allow its opponent to get any closer than four points at 15-11. At that point, O’Neill freshman Connor Colpoys had a great offensive play where he drove the lane but stepped back and hit a mid-range jumper.
“They came out and started pressing us in the second half, which sped up the tempo,” Ciocca said. “We had to keep taking the ball to the basket because the ref was calling a lot of fouls. That was really our strategy, taking it hard to the hole.”
This is familiar territory for three members of the squad, who reached the Sweet 16 last year and lost. Ciocca said they are not looking too far ahead and are preparing for their next opponent.
“The next team we play is big, so everyone has to rebound,” Ciocca said.
Holy Cross Juniors def. We Do It for Basil
The Holy Cross Juniors, which features three Holy Cross basketball players, defeated We Do It For Basil, 21-16, in a back-and-forth game. The Juniors, who trailed 11-9 at the half, relied on Darrell McIntyre to dictate their offense.
“A lot of teams focus on me, so I had to keep my teammates involved and make sure we kept cutting,” McIntyre said. “That helped get some wide open layups.”
The Juniors opened the second half with a 4-0 run that included jumpers by McIntyre and teammate Alajowon Edwards. We Do It For Basil was able to keep the game within three points for most of the second half but couldn’t respond when McIntyre had a great put-back and Zoe Bauer hit a knockdown jumper on back-to-back possessions.
“It was kind of tough at first,” McIntyre said. “They came out and played solid defense.”
Regarding their Elite 8 game, McIntyre highlighted two things to improve on in their offensive end.
“We have to move the ball more and take care of the ball more,” McIntyre said.
CJ’s Party of Five def. American Hustle and Rebound
CJ’s Party of Five capitalized on its height and shooting ability to defeat American Hustle and Rebound, 21-16, on Wednesday night.
CJ’s Party of Five, led by graduate students Matt Lynch and former varsity basketball player Tom Knight, used a strong second half to come back from a two-point deficit at halftime to claim the victory.
“We didn’t box out or rebound well in the beginning, and we just didn’t have any energy, so we turned it up in the second half and played much better,” Lynch said.
Lynch opened the second half with two consecutive outside shots within a minute to tie the game 11-11. While Lynch and senior Eric Nesi led CJ’s Party of Five’s offensive comeback in the second half, Knight and sophomore Pete Ritcher revived the team’s defense. Knight and Ritcher, both well over six-foot-five, reversed their poor turnover margin from the first half and forced seven turnovers, shutting down American Hustle’s offense.
“Once we started moving the ball around, getting shots and playing defense, we were good,” Lynch said. “We did a whole lot better in the second half getting the ball around.”
Though CJ’s Party of Five dominated the second half, American Hustle and Rebound owned the court in the first. Graduate student Trevor Yerrick and sophomore Travis Pate controlled the team’s passing and shooting game and consistently connected with freshman JesusisLord Nwadiuko underneath the basket.
“They hustled, they had athletic build,” Knight said. “We underestimated them for sure.”
Moving forward, Knight said CJ’s Party of Five would not look past its next opponent, Touchdown 3s, in the Elite Eight.
“We’re playing a big team that we’ve played against at Rolfs before, so we know we have to box out, move the ball and make them run,” he said.
#Team43 def. The Drones
#Team43, comprised of four varsity soccer players and a varsity Irish basketball player in graduating senior Garrick Sherman, came out of the gates on a tear, quickly establishing a comfortable lead with four unanswered baskets. Although the Drones took a while to get going, they eventually found their stride, relying on Holy Cross senior Brandon Evans’s skill in the post to bring the game to a 9-9 tie. After halftime, the game was much more evenly matched, with both teams trading baskets. With the game tied 13-13, the Drones went on a 6-2 run to go up 19-15, but that was as large as the margin would stretch. #Team43 went on a 5-1 run, with all five points coming from Sherman and junior playmaker Max Lachowecki. #Team43 then went on to score three of the final four buckets, with Lachowecki scoring the winning basket with a breakaway layup to give #Team43 the 23-21 victory.
Drones senior captain Michael Bradley paid credit to the opposition after the game. “Although we had that lead at 19-15, they went on a run and gave us trouble scoring,” Bradly said. “Although I thought we were the better team tonight, all credit goes to the opposition, they played well and grabbed the win.”
The captain of #Team43 junior Nick Besler was delighted with the close victory.
“We just came out to have fun and that’s what we’re having right now so I can have no complaints,” Besler said. “We came up with some big blocks when it mattered and we look forward to the next game”.
Touchdown 3s def. Long Story Short
Touchdown 3s maintained an early lead over Long Story Short to secure a 21-14 victory.
Both aggressive and athletic teams, Touchdown 3s used its height and powerful defense to force Long Story Short to stray from its fundamentals.
“They were really good on defense and really athletic, but we were bigger than them and used that to our advantage,” junior Kevin Gates said.
Led by seniors Chris Cali and Jeremy Riche, juniors Gates and Taylor Kolbus and sophomore Garrett Dempsey, Touchdown 3s forced Long Story Short into poor shooting position and caused several turnovers.
Throughout the game, Touchdown 3s strategically positioned Gates and Kolbus down low to capitalize on their height for rebounding and getting to the basket.
“We had a big size advantage and got to the rim a lot, which gave us a high shot percentage,” Gates said.
Long Story Short, led by seniors Tommy Rees and Joey Brooks, and football program members David Grimes, Jason Michelson and Andru Creighton, maintained a consistent short game throughout the matchup.
Right before halftime, Brooks recovered a pass from Rees and moved inside to deliver a layup from the left side. However, Touchdown 3s’s Dempsey responded with an outside shot from the right, carrying his team into halftime with an 11-6 lead.
Kolbus ended the scoreless streak that opened the second half with a shot from inside the key. Dempsey and Cali took off offensively and strong defense by Gates and Kolbus shut down Long Story Short’s drive to the basket, forcing fouls and preventing them from taking any lead. After a late foul by Rees, Touchdown 3s secured the 21-14 victory.
Touchdown 3s will move on to play CJ’s Party of 5 in the Elite Eight on Thursday.
“It’s going to be a pretty even matchup in terms of size and skill, so it will be a very different flow than this game,” Gates said.