Former Pitt wing Jamel Artis and Sideline Cancer faced off against Syracuse alumni team Boeheim’s Army in The Basketball Tournament on Saturday, and they emerged victorious, dealing the Orange alums a lopsided 65-48 defeat and sending them home.
In the quarterfinal matchup, Artis was once again included in Sideline Cancer’s starting lineup and contributed six points, six rebounds and three assists to the winning effort. The Pitt alum entered the game averaging 14.4 points and 6.2 rebounds per game against the Orange in his college career but found himself involved in a lower-scoring and lower-intensity matchup against Boeheim’s Army on Saturday.
In a tournament that has seen teams score as many as 40 points in a single nine-minute quarter, Sideline Cancer and Boeheim’s Army combined for 20 in the first frame, which ended in a 10-10 tie. The second quarter did little else to resolve the stalemate, as it concluded with the score at 24-24. And when the dust had settled at the end of the first half, neither team seemed poised to break out in the final two quarters, as they had both struggled to produce on offense and combined for a 3-for-30 three-point shooting performance.
However, in the second half, the defense of Boeheim’s Army began to crack, opening up opportunities for Sideline Cancer’s top scorers, Maurice Creek and Marcus Keene. The duo took full advantage and went on to finish with 22 and 13 points, respectively, with Keene hitting the game-winning shot.
In the semifinal round, Sideline Cancer will face four-time champions Overseas Elite. Just before Sideline Cancer’s bout with Boeheim’s Army on Saturday, Overseas Elite, the team Pitt great DeJuan Blair won a TBT title with in 2017, throttled Marshall alumni squad Herd That 93-76. That knocked former Pitt power forward Ryan Luther out of the tournament, leaving Artis as the last Panther standing in TBT.
Artis will face a significant challenge in the semifinals, as Overseas Elite features former NBA All-Star Joe Johnson, who scored 35 points and went 5-for-6 from long range against Herd That. But ESPN analyst Seth Greenberg expressed optimism about Artis’ ability to defend Johnson during the Sideline Cancer vs. Boeheim’s Army broadcast. Whether that optimism is founded or not will be determined Sunday at 6 p.m. ET, when the two teams meet in the TBT final four.