‘He’s Jordan Sibert, and he hits clutch 3s’ — Red Scare advance to round of 16 in TBT

2015 UD grad Sibert scores 15 points and hits Elam Ending shot to beat No. 2 seed Golden Eagles

Jordan Sibert briefly took possession of the placard with the Red Scare name on it. The player who makes the Elam Ending shot gets to attach it to the giant bracket off the side of the court, moving the team name to the next round in The Basketball Tournament. It’s a TBT tradition other tournaments have since copied.

Sibert earned that job Sunday by making the game-ending shot in a 75-70 victory against CitiTeam, and he had the honor again Tuesday after clinching a 62-56 victory against the Marquette alumni team, the Golden Eagles, in the second round at UD. Only Sibert gave up the duties, handing the placard to Bam Dawson, the young cousin of Sibert’s former Dayton Flyers teammate and current Red Scare teammate, Scoochie Smith.

Dawson bounded off the floor carrying the placard as the whole team followed as well as several other family members who have been with Smith for almost two weeks in Dayton. He was the happiest kid in UD Arena, and he danced as the players surrounded him.

“He also had an amazing pregame dance in the locker room,” Red Scare coach Joey Gruden said. “Shout out, Bam.”

“He got us right,” Smith said.

Credit: David Jablonski

Credit: David Jablonski

While Dawson symbolically moved the Red Scare ahead in the $1 million winner-takes-all tournament, Sibert played the biggest role in the victory. He made 5 of 10 3-pointers and scored 19 points — 11 of them in a 3 minute, 27 second stretch in the third quarter — while adding to his collection of memorable moments at UD Arena. His 3-pointer put the finishing touch on the No. 3 seed Red Scare’s upset of the No. 2 Golden Eagles, who beat the Red Scare 79-70 in the semifinals en route to the TBT championship in 2020.

The Red Scare owned a 59-56 lead and needed two points to reach the Elam Ending target score of 61 points. Sibert took a contested 3-pointer instead.

Explore» PHOTOS: Red Scare vs. Golden Eagles

“Yeah, I’ve got a problem with that,” he said. “I like shooting 3s a lot. I was kind of open. I was kind of in a rhythm from earlier in the game with Scooch finding me and my teammates finding me. I took a dribble to the right. I had a little space. So I let it fly.”

The coaches would have elected to go for a 2 but quickly changed their minds when Sibert made the shot.

“I think I was screaming, ‘No, no, no,’” Red Scare assistant coach Jeremiah Bonsu said, “but that’s bad coaching because he’s Jordan Sibert, and he hits clutch 3s.”

The Red Scare advanced to play No. 1 seed The Money Team at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the round of 16 on ESPN2. The Money Team features former BYU star Jimmer Fredette and is backed by boxer Floyd Mayweather. It reached the quarterfinals last year.

The Money Team’s top scorer Tuesday with 24 points was 6-foot-7 forward Trevor Booker, who scored 1,727 points at Clemson from 2006-10 and played in the NBA from 2010-18. Corey Davis, who averaged 17.0 points for Houston in 2018-19, scored 18 points. Fredette, who had 29 points in the first round, scored 13.

The Dayton Region winner will play the West Virginia Region winner — the East Tennessee State alumni team Bucknuteers or the WVU alumni team Best Virginia — at 9 p.m. Friday in the quarterfinals on ESPN.

The Red Scare looked to be on their way to a second straight second-round exit in the TBT after falling in a 16-4 hole in the first quarter. They missed their first nine 3-point attempts before Sibert connected in the second minute of the second quarter.

“Before the game, we talked about how we knew it was going to be a battle,” Red Scare coach Joey Gruden said. “We said it’s a game of runs. They’re really good — one of the better teams in this tournament for years — and they hit us in the mouth early. I was really proud that we stayed together. In years past, we’ve had a lot of finger pointing and yelling on the sideline, but today it was different. We all stayed together.”

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After starting 0-of-9, the Red Scare made 10 of 17 3-pointers the rest of the way. Vee Sanford made one in the final seconds of the first half to cut the Golden Eagles’ lead to 29-28.

Sibert made 3s on back-to-back possessions in the third quarter, extending the Red Scare lead to 41-32. Then former Ohio State guard C.J. Walker made a 3-pointer from just inside the half-court line at the buzzer to end the third quarter. The Red Scare took a 49-40 lead into the fourth quarter.

Credit: David Jablonski

Credit: David Jablonski

Credit: David Jablonski

Credit: David Jablonski

Watching the excitement from behind the bench was a collection of current and former Flyers.

Brady Uhl, R.J. Blakney, Mustapha Amzil and Koby Brea, members of the 2022-23 roster, sat at one end of the row. Obi Toppin, Jalen Crutcher and Ibi Watson — all stars on the 29-2 team of 201

9-20 — had seats in the middle. Closer to the scorer’s table sat the two leading scorers from last season: the current Dayton captain Toumani Camara and the reigning Atlantic 10 Conference Rookie of the Year DaRon Holmes II.

Malachi Smith, Scoochie’s younger brother, also watched the game from the stands with his dad and the other members of the Smith family.

They were all part of a crowd of 2,354 that might have been larger if not for the 9 p.m. start. The Red Scare could use an even bigger crowd Wednesday but appreciated all the support they got in the first two rounds.

“Our fans’ energy, it’s crazy,” Sibert said. “I think the momentum they bring us changed the game a few times. We got stagnant, and they got loud.”

The fans watched the Red Scare’s nine-point lead vanish fast in the fourth quarter. The Golden Eagles scored nine straight points in 2 minutes, 11 seconds, tying the game at 49-49. Smith then hit two free throws to put the Red Scare back on top.

The Golden Eagles didn’t tie the game again until the 4:44 mark when Elgin Cook made two free throws. The score remained 53-53 when the Elam Ending began with under four minutes to play. At that point, the game clock was turned off, and the target score became 61 points.

Josh Cunningham and Darrell Davis each hit baskets in the Elam Ending for the Red Scare. It was the only score of the game for Cunningham, who led the team with 11 rebounds.

Smith, who had 10 points and four assists, made two free throws. Then Sibert finished off the victory.

“It’s great in the moment, but we’ve got another one,” Sibert said. “We didn’t come here to just win these games. We came here to win the whole thing.”

Credit: David Jablonski

Credit: David Jablonski

Credit: David Jablonski

Credit: David Jablonski

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