I remember where I was the first and only time Khalif Wyatt took the court with CJ Fair, Baye Keita, and Brandon Triche. It was December 22, 2012, as the No. 3-ranked Orange took on unranked Temple in Madison Square Garden. Syracuse was 10-0 heading into the game. They were 10-1 after.
I watched that game in my brother’s living room, in his (then) new house outside of Boston, the day I arrived to spend Christmas with my side of the family. My family tends to enjoy imbibing when we get together for the holidays. That game certainly gave us reason.
Wyatt proceeded to torch Syracuse for 33 points, with 15 of his points coming from the free throw line. CJ Fair scored what was, at that time, a career-high 25 points and Triche had 17. Keita came off the bench to score 12 points and grab eight rebounds, but it wasn’t enough, and Syracuse was the victim of a massive upset, 83-79.
The good news is, the Orange rebounded from that loss and ultimately made a run to the Final Four that season. Also good news? Fair, Triche, and Keita will get a chance at vengeance tomorrow in Philadelphia as Boeheim’s Army takes on the North Broad Street Bullies at (approximately) 4:15 p.m. EST in the second round of The Basketball Tournament.
Boeheim’s Army cruised to an 87-59 victory in the first round, while the Bullies defeated 20th & Olney, a team of La Salle alums, 90-76 in the final game of the evening today. A couple other players from that 2012-13 Temple squad are on the Bullies as well, with Scootie Randall and Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson (Rondae’s brother).
Those also happened to be three of the top scorers for the Bullies in their opening round win, with the 6-foot-4 Wyatt scoring 25 to lead the way. Randall, a 6-foot-6 forward, scored 19 and Hollis-Jefferson, also a 6-foot-6 forward, added 14.
There are actually a couple other players from that year’s roster as well, in 6-foot-4 guard Dalton Pepper and 6-foot-3 guard TJ DiLeo. However, DiLeo barely played in the 2012 game and Pepper didn’t play at all, and the duo combined to play just 10 minutes in the first round game on Saturday.
One other former Temple player, 6-foot-4 guard Ramone Moore, is a more recent alum of the Owls and is another of the Bullies’ top players after scoring 14 points against 20th & Olney. The Bullies are definitely perimeter oriented, launching 25 threes in the first round game and not boasting a lot of size. Starting center Darrius Garrett is a 6-foot-9 player from Richmond, but didn’t make much of an impact in Saturday’s game, scoring seven points and grabbing four rebounds.
Boeheim’s Army will definitely have a distinct advantage on the interior, and should be able to pound the ball inside as one of the biggest team’s in the tournament. The Army certainly has a lot of talent on the perimeter, but in this game in particular it should be the vastly superior post play that gives them an edge both in the paint on offense and on the glass on defense.
Wyatt knocked down five triples in the opening round game for the Bullies, and actually attempted 10 of the team’s 25 triples. No one else on the squad hit more than one trey, so if Boeheim’s Army can shut down the guy I’m officially declaring our second round nemesis, it’ll go a long way toward advancing to the Sweet 16.
The game will once again be streamed live on the Whistle Sports Facebook page.