Red Scare face biggest challenge yet in Basketball Tournament semis

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Press Conference: Red Scare after quarterfinal win

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Marquette alumni team reached championship game last year

Members of the Red Scare will spend their ninth straight night at the Hyatt Regency in Columbus on Saturday. Players in The Basketball Tournament have to follow strict quarantine rules. They can’t go outside, unless they’re standing just outside the hotel or walking to games at Nationwide Arena.

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The teams that advance wouldn’t have it any other way.

“We’re good,” Trey Landers said. “We enjoy each other’s company.”

“As long as we’re still playing basketball, we’re good,” Ryan Mikesell said.

The Dayton Flyers alumni team beat House of 'Paign 83-76 on Friday and will play a team of Marquette alums, the Golden Eagles, at 4 p.m. Sunday in the semifinals. The winner advances to the championship game at 7 p.m. Tuesday. All the games are on ESPN.

The TBT champion takes home $1 million. For the Red Scare, that money will be split between the eight players and coach Joey Gruden. Everyone will earn $163,636 except Jalen Robinson and the two non-Flyers, Trevor Thompson and Ryan McMahon, who will each take home $100,000.

» GRATEFUL COACH: Dayton’s Grant reflects on season

“We’re right there, but we’ve got a lot of work to do,” Mikesell said. “Obviously, this next game against the Golden Eagles is going to be really tough — probably our toughest game. They’re real physical. They’ve got great guard play. It’s going to be another challenge for us defensively to get stops. We’ll have to get out and run offensively. We’re excited just to have another opportunity to play. The end goal is to win a championship and win some of that money.”

The Red Scare learned something about the Elam Ending in the quarterfinals. The rule created by UD graduate Nick Elam prevents games from turning into free-throw parades in the final minutes, adds drama with game-ending shots in every game and also gives hope to teams down by double digits.

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Highlights: Red Scare vs. House of 'Paign

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

The rule forces the leading team to continue to score. They can’t run time off the clock because the clock is turned off with under four minutes to play as eight points are added to the leading team’s score. That becomes the target score, and the first team to reach it wins.

» PHOTOS: Landers through the yearsMikesell

The Red Scare led 74-55 when the Elam Ending went into effect and pushed the lead to 80-61. At that point, they needed only two points to win the game. However, they missed their next 10 shots and watched as the Illinois alums scored 13 straight points.

Finally, Devin Oliver grabbed a rebound and threw a pass down the court to Landers, who beat the defense and dunked to end the game.

“For some reason we took our foot off the gas,” said McMahon, the former Louisville guard who has made 8 of 16 3-pointers in two games. “We talked about it in the timeout — not taking our foot off the gas — but that’s kind of the good and the bad of the Elam Ending. You can’t let up and use the game clock as a weapon. You’ve got to keep attacking.”

The No. 8 seed Red Scare will now play a team that reached the semifinals in 2018 and the championship game in 2019 before losing to Carmen’s Crew. The Golden Eagles are the No. 4 seed. Their top scorer Friday in an 83-76 victory against Team Brotherly Love was point guard Dwight Buycks, 31. He averaged 7.7 points in two seasons at Marquette (2009-11) and appeared in 49 games in three seasons in the NBA.

» ARCHDEACON: Dayton’s Farrell part of Coaches 4 Change

One of the team’s other stars is guard Darius Johnson-Odom, who scored 1,649 points in three seasons (2009-12) at Marquette. He appeared in six games in two NBA seasons. He’s now 31.

The most recognizable name on the team is Travis Diener, who played with Dwyane Wade on the Marquette team that reached the Final Four in 2003. Diener, 38, has not played in the first two games because of a calf strain.

While Marquette has more veterans and more star power, that doesn’t always translate to success in this tournament. The Red Scare is the only team that has three players who were in college last season: Mikesell, Landers and McMahon.

“A lot of these teams have a lot of superstars, which kind of affects how people play,” Landers said. “We have guys who can score, guys that rebound, guys that defend. We have a balanced team. A lot of guys want to go one on one and score. We have guys who can do everything. That’s really big for us.”

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Highlights: Red Scare vs. Big X

Credit: DaytonDailyNews