Syracuse, N.Y. — Ryan Blackwell minced no words.
The Boeheim’s Army coach, cognizant of his team’s 8-for-48 shooting performance from the 3-point line in two The Basketball Tournament games this week, was troubled about the lack of scoring and shooting for the Syracuse-based team:
“It’s mind-boggling, to be honest,” he said.
On Saturday, against a Sideline Cancer team that did not shoot the ball much better, Boeheim’s Army struggled to score at all.
The team was 20-of-66 overall. It was 4-of-21 from the 3-point line. It managed a total of 24 points in the final two quarters in its 65-48 loss to Sideline Cancer, a team that will now face Overseas Elite in Sunday’s final four.
“We had no flow, no rhythm,” Blackwell said. “People were trying to do it by themselves instead of trusting the next guy.”
Blackwell refused to make excuses, but wondered how his team might have performed had the pandemic not canceled the team’s usual pre-tournament training camp. Some teams in TBT opted to quarantine together before the tournament and take their chances with Covid-19 tests that could eliminate the entire group if one player tested positive.
Boeheim’s Army, wary of a potential positive test, chose to come to Columbus and practice for the first time in the Columbus Convention Center instead. Blackwell said Thursday’s practice went well. The team worked hard, he said. Guys knocked down shots.
That clearly did not happen Saturday. Sideline Cancer kept Boeheim’s Army players from reaching the rim with their dribbles and did not put the team on the free throw line. (Boeheim’s Army took just seven free throws.)
Blackwell acknowledged that Sideline Cancer played sticky defense. But his team, he said, did not do enough to make those defenders work.
“Too much one-on-one basketball,” Blackwell said. “The teams that win play together. They’re so unselfish. It’s frustrating.”
Despite the disappointment in the performance, Blackwell cherished his time in the TBT bubble. Basketball was played on national TV. And he and Boeheim’s Army were a part of it.
“It’s unfortunate that we lost,” he said, “but considering the circumstances, the way the world is right now, we’re just happy to play sports again and be on TV and do what we love to do.”