By Jon Cooper
The fifth annual Old Spice Classic was just that—a classic. Held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney World, the three days of basketball featured a dozen games, incredible displays of offense and defense, unexpected finishes and upsets, and some indescribable clutch play. When all was said and done, Notre Dame’s dreams came true, as the Fighting Irish knocked off Wisconsin in a championship with a surprising second-half twist. Here’s a team-by-team look at the 2010 field:
Boston College led wire-to-wire but got a late scare in its 67-65 victory over Texas A&M. Junior guard Reggie Jackson had a game-high 21, including back-to-back buckets in the final two minutes that broke a 62-62 tie. BC led by five at the half and by as much as 11, but found itself tied with 2:08 left before Jackson went on his four-point burst. Joe Trapani added 14 for the Eagles, who were out-rebounded 32-16, but created 25 points off turnovers (versus 9 for A&M). Against Wisconsin, B.C. led by nine in the first half, but was undone by an 18-0 run midway through the second half in a 65-55 loss. Jackson again led the Eagles with 18 and had a game-high four assists. BC shot only 34.5 percent in the second half, and hit only two of 10 three-point tries. Corey Raji had a team-high with nine rebounds, six on the offensive end (both game-highs). In the Eagles’ finale, Trapani and Biko Paris each had a dozen, with Trapani contributing a game-high eight boards, and Boston College stopped California cold, 68-46. BC used a pair of second-half 8-0 runs to open a 61-38 lead, and held the Golden Bears to five second-half field goals and 20.8 percent shooting (one of 11 on threes). Jackson was named to the All-Tournament Team, averaging 16.7 points on 43.6 shooting (46.1 from three) and an assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.75:1.
Starting an all-freshman backcourt, California opened in grand style, as Harper Kamp scored 13 points and Allen Crabbe added 12 to lead the 57-50 upset of Temple. Down 45-38 with 7:42 to go, the Golden Bears went on a 16-1 run to take control of the game. The Bears limited the Owls to 33.3 percent shooting and 10.5 from three (2-for-19). Cal hit 11 of 15 second-half free throws and Crabbe shot 5-for-6 from the foul line, including three in the final minute to seal the game. In its next game, California managed only five points in the first half in losing to Notre Dame, 57-44. Crabbe had 10 points and 10 rebounds. The Bears trailed 21-5 at halftime, going scoreless the final 9:16 and shooting 2-for-25 (0-8 from three) while committing 11 turnovers. They shot better in the second half, including 46.2 from three, but never got closer than 10. Both teams shot below 30 percent for the game, with Cal finishing at 26.2, and 28.6 from three. In its next game, California got 12 from Jorge Gutierrez, and 11 points and six rebounds from Markhuri Sanders-Frison, but again shot under 40 percent (35.4), losing 68-46 to Boston College. A pair of 8-0 runs did in the Golden Bears, who came in averaging 84.5 points per game, but who scored 147 points in the three games, shooting 33.1 percent (53-for-160) and 31.1 from three (17-for-54).
Georgia dominated early but fell in double overtime, 89-83, to Notre Dame. Travis Leslie had 23 points and nine rebounds, and Gerald Robinson added 16 and five assists for UGA, which shot 51.7 percent in the first half and led by 12 at intermission. The Bulldogs cooled off against the Fighting Irish’s 2-3 zone, suffering a six-minute scoreless drought, which allowed the Irish to take an eight-point lead. But a put-back by All-SEC forward Trey Thompkins with :09 left tied the game. Georgia overcame a six-point deficit in the first overtime, but was outscored 20-14 in the second extra session. Georgia’s struggles against the zone continued in its 65-58 loss to No. 21/20 Temple, as the Bulldogs shot 38.9 percent (22.2 from three). Robinson had 16 points, and Leslie added 14 and seven rebounds for UGA, which trailed by nine in the second half before getting to within four in the final 1:13. The Bulldogs took their final game, edging Manhattan, 61-58. Thompkins scored a game-high 18 points, and Leslie had 13 and a game-high 11 rebounds. Georgia shot only 1-for-12 from three, but dominated inside, holding a 36-22 edge on points in the paint. The Dawgs let an 11-point lead slip away, but went on a decisive 10-2 second-half run to overcome a five-point deficit. A Thompkins basket and a block on a potential game-tying three-pointer preserved the win.
In a cold-shooting affair, Manhattan hung around for a half before being left behind by Wisconsin in its 50-35 loss. Freshman Michael Alvarado scored a team-high 15 points, and Kidani Brutus added seven points and seven rebounds for the Jaspers, who shot only 28.6 percent (14-for-49, 2-for-7 from three). Manhattan scored six of the game’s first seven points, and, despite making only five field goals and shooting 20 percent in the first half, only trailed 17-10 at halftime. A Wisconsin 18-8 run extended the lead to 17, and the Jaspers would get no closer than 12. Manhattan again dug itself too big a hole against Texas A&M, falling to the Aggies, 74-45. Freshman Rhamel Brown had 11 points and 10 rebounds (six offensive), and George Beamon added 10 for the Jaspers, who barely shot over 30 percent and made only two-of-16 three-point attempts. Manhattan trailed by as much as 17, but its defense, which forced 13 turnovers and created eight steals, closed the gap to five with 12:49 to play before the Aggies pulled away, finishing on a 22-7 run. The Jaspers put together a spirited effort in their finale, but fell short, losing 61-58 to Georgia. Brutus had a team-high 16, including seven during a 21-9 second-half run that gave Manhattan a 51-46 lead with 9:43 to play. Beamon added 14 points, 10 rebounds, four steals and two blocked shots, but Georgia answered with a 10-2 run, and a final game-tying three by Brutus was deflected at the buzzer.
Notre Dame had to work overtime—double-overtime, actually—to win its opener, an 89-83 thriller over Georgia. Tim Abromaitis had a game-high 25, and Tyrone Nash added 18, as the Irish rallied from a 12-point halftime deficit only to squander an eight-point lead at the end of regulation and a six-point lead in the first overtime. In the second OT, Abromaitis scored six points, and four Fighting Irish went 8-for-8 on free throws in the final 40 seconds as ND outscored UGA, 20-14. Notre Dame won ugly in its next game, a 57-44 victory over California. Carleton Scott had a game-high 16 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Fighting Irish, who managed only 21 first-half points yet still led by 16 at intermission. Cal cut that lead to 11, but the Irish went on a 10-3 run and weren’t challenged thereafter. In the championship game, Notre Dame used a big second-half run to blow by Wisconsin, 58-51. Eric Atkins and Scott each had 12 to lead four double-digit scorers, and the Fighting Irish dominated the boards, holding a 43-28 edge, 13-6 on offensive rebounds. After leading by three at the half, and trailing 43-32 with 9:21 to play, Notre Dame closed on a 24-8 run, including a 15-0 stretch that gave them the lead for good. Abromaitis (14.0 ppg, 8.7 rpg) was named MVP of the tournament, while Scott (13.0 ppg, 9.3 rpg, 2.0 bpg) also named to the All-Tournament Team.
No. 21/20 Temple appeared on its way to a 3-0 start but faltered down the stretch in its 57-50 loss to California. Lavoy Allen had 13 points, all in the second half, and Rahlir Jefferson came off the bench to chip in 10 points and a team-high eight rebounds, but the Owls allowed a 16-1 run in the final 7:42, as their 45-38 lead slipped away. Temple missed eight straight shots and had a turnover in Cal’s run. The Owls shot better in their next game, as Scootie Randall poured in a career-high 18 points, and four Owls scored in double figures in a 65-58 win over Georgia. TU led by a deuce at halftime and extended the lead to 11, 46-35. The Bulldogs closed to within 59-55 with 1:13 left, but Jefferson’s bucket gave Temple breathing room, and Ramone Moore’s four free throws closed the game out. In the fifth-place game, Temple’s dramatic rally from a 13-point, second-half deficit fell short in its 54-51 loss to Texas A&M. Down 52-51, the Owls shot for the lead in the closing seconds, but a three-point attempt from Juan Fernandez didn’t fall. Allen and Fernandez had a team-high 10 for Temple, which was limited to 31.3 percent shooting (25.0 percent from three). Allen added a team-high seven rebounds. The Owls’ defense limited A&M to 33.3 percent shooting, 18.2 percent from three, including a 12-minute stretch holding the Aggies without a field goal to forge the comeback.
Khris Middleton scored a career-high-tying 19 points, pulled down a game-high seven rebounds and had a career-best six assists, but Texas A&M dropped a heartbreaking 67-65 decision to Boston College in its Classic opener. The Aggies trailed 49-38 six minutes into the second half before rallying, and had two chances to tie the game in the final minute. But B.J. Holmes missed a free throw--ironically, A&M’s only miss of the half (the Aggies shot a season-high 82.4 percent from the line)—and then a Dash Harris lay-up rolled off the rim at the final buzzer. The next day, Middleton set his career high, going for 20 points as Texas A&M took Manhattan, 74-45. Holmes and Kourtney Roberson each had 12 for the Aggies, who let a 14-point halftime lead evaporate to five before going on a 22-4 run to put the game away. In the finale, Holmes’ basket off an offensive rebound with 18.5 seconds left lifted Texas A&M to a 54-51 upset of No. 21/20 Temple. David Loubeau scored 13 points, and Naji Hibbert chipped in with a dozen. A&M squandered a 42-29 lead, though it held a 45-30 rebounding edge. Middleton was named to the All-Tournament Team after averaging 15.7 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists. He also shot a team-best 46.2 percent from three and 91.7 percent from the line.
Wisconsin used a suffocating defense to beat Manhattan, 50-35, in its opener. The Badgers led 17-10 at the half despite 23.3 percent shooting (7-for-30, 1-for-13 from three). Wisconsin opened the second half on 12-4 run, and the lead grew to 23. Jon Leuer scored a game-high-tying 18 points (nine in the first half) and grabbed 13 rebounds, both game-highs, and freshman guard Josh Gasser scored nine of his 12 in the second 20 minutes. In its next game, Wisconsin used a devastating 32-4 second-half run to win, 65-55, over Boston College. Leuer scored a game-high 18, with seven rebounds, three blocks and three assists. Jordan Taylor added 14. The Badgers shot 13-for-20 in the 12-minute run, and turned five of their misses into 10 second-chance points. They also shut down Boston College, which shot only 2-for-15. UW dominated in the paint, outscoring BC 32-18, and committed only three turnovers. In the championship, Wisconsin let an 11-point, second-half lead disappear in a 58-51 loss to Notre Dame. The Badgers made just three of their final 13 shots, as the Fighting Irish closed on a 26-5 run. Leuer scored a game-high 19, but the Badgers were out-shot 25-4 from the foul line and outscored 20-4 (all of them by Leuer). Leuer was named to the All-Tournament Team, averaging 17.7 points on 45.5 percent shooting (35.7 from three), with 8.3 rebounds and 2.0 assists with five blocks.
University of Maryland alum Jon Cooper is an Atlanta-based freelance writer.