Barroso, Smith Razzle-Dazzle Their Way to Victory in First ECAC-SIDA NBA Jam Tournament Edition Tournament
Duo’s Miami Heat finish tournament 4-0, emerging from an impressive 14-team field
VALLEY FORGE, Pa. – Saint Anselm’s Chris Barroso and Skidmore’s Nate Smith drew the Miami Heat as their chosen team from a plastic Radisson Hotel coffee cup on Thursday evening and masterfully guided that young and enterprising squad to a championship, posting a 4-0 record to claim the inaugural ECAC-SIDA NBA Jam Tournament Edition Tournament held at both Wally World and Room 1417 at the Valley Forge Casino Resort.
Miami was the last team standing from a 14-team, mostly double-elimination tournament that lasted hellishly long into the morning, concluding close to 4:30 a.m. inside what was then a sparsely-populated Room 1417. Tournament officials organized the bracket with admirable intentions, but reality eventually entered the equation and forced a controversial elimination of multiple loser’s bracket teams midway through the proceedings.
Those excised from the tournament met the decision with mixed reactions. The Utah squad greeted the ultimatum with relief, as Wilmington’s Dan Lauletta was able to go to bed at a slightly reasonable hour after Coast Guard’s Casey McGarvey had already wisely done so 20 minutes prior to the decision. The Milwaukee squad of Hood’s Geoff Goyne and Sage’s Colleen Dempsey, fresh off a rousing 74-68 overtime victory, was incensed – as one Buck labeled a tournament official a (expletive removed) before threatening a Title IX violation for eliminating one of the two teams that featured a female.
Miami’s road to victory featured numerous close games and multiple obstacles. After an unsightly Round 1 victory in which the Heat won by 10 despite the opposing Utah Jazz stunningly scoring just 25 points (they had Karl Malone, what the heck), Barroso and Smith patiently imbibed (and imbibed some more) while having to sit in excess of 2 ½ hours awaiting their next game as a result of the ghastly scheduling by tournament officials.
Yet the most important decision of the tournament may have been a key timeout called by Barroso in Miami’s second game. Facing a strong Cleveland Cavaliers squad (Allegheny’s Jem Smith and Scranton’s John Gatto), the Heat found themselves down until the timely touch of the start button allowed for Barroso to swap in a fresh beverage, talk to teammate Smith, and kickstart a run that proved to be the difference. The game was chock full of drama; it included a potential game-winning shot in regulation that was left to the imagination as the player stood frozen in midair due to the whistle blowing for overtime.
While only a couple of games were not played, there were 23 that did reach completion. An incredible balance of tangible excitement and utter ineptitude was on display throughout the night and early-morning hours, including a Game 1 stunner in which Orlando defeated Minnesota 50-48 on a goaltending call and a wild double-overtime extravaganza between Cleveland and Washington (Franciscan’s Mary Raskob and Ithaca’s Dan Decaria).
The Houston Rockets squad of men with Ithaca ties, despite having frequent outbursts and possible chemistry issues, averaged 56 points over five games. Houston had the largest victory of the tournament (20 points over Cleveland), and also displayed incredible focus in what proved to be their elimination game – multi-tasking by both playing the game and simultaneously arguing with Hiram’s Jerrod Plate of the Detroit Pistons about whether or not the position “3” was a forward or a guard despite the name of the position being a small forward (which, was seemingly inconsequential as an NBA Jam team has two players).
Other impressive feats included the aforementioned Milwaukee squad, who won a game in which the indomitable Vin Baker scored 56 points and had 12 blocks. In that same game, the crowd witnessed the near death of Orlando guard Nick Anderson, who was stunningly employed in a fourth-quarter lineup despite boasting 12 injuries. Anderson moved listlessly throughout the fourth quarter, as if every step he took resulted in exquisite pain, while Baker dunked on his ass with regularity.
The Atlanta Hawk squad of Mark Fisher (Carnegie-Mellon) and Greg Knowlden (ESU) showed that aged players (in the video game) could still ball, winning three straight games from the loser’s bracket to finish third overall with a 3-2 record. Fisher and Knowlden exquisitely employed a ball-control, time-management strategy that allowed Stacey Augmon to rain down three-pointers despite his rapidly receding and pixelated hairline. Augmon hit three 3-pointers in the final 60 seconds of a semifinal loss in overtime to the Knicks, nearly leading the Hawks to a historic comeback victory.
Yet the night came down to the Heat and their primary rival: the New York Knick squad of Perry Laskaris (RPI) and Jon Holtz (Slippery Rock). Laskaris, who owns the Sega Genesis system used for the Tournament Edition Tournament, coincidentally reached the semifinals of both ECAC-SIDA tournaments with Holtz alongside. The Heat and Knicks engaged in fierce competition – with the best game being the first meeting -- a 42-41 Miami victory that seemed to be in New York’s hands, but Patrick Ewing’s go-ahead thunder dunk at the buzzer was denied by the final whistle despite Ewing being airborne with his hands on the ball that was right on top of the cylinder.
The tournament that featured various levels of taunting and drinking alongside a steady and copious amount of profanity (despite the frequent attempts at a self-imposed noise ordinance in Room 1417) was ultimately clinched by Glen Rice – who hit nine three-pointers in the championship game (51-47 over the Knicks). Rice scored 47 of his team’s 51 points in the victory, leading the Heat to relish the championship and cause the Knicks to wonder what could have been.
A lot more happened, like, really, a lot more happened, but the sun is coming up and breakfast is in like two hours.
2017 NBA JAM TOURNAMENT EDITION (Valley Forge, PA)
Atlanta (Mark Fisher [Carnegie Mellon], Greg Knowlden [East Stroudsburg])
Cleveland (Jem Smith [Allegheny], John Gatto [Scranton])
Detroit (Sean King [W&J], Jerrod Plate [Hiram])
Houston (Justin Lutes [Ithaca],
Indiana (Kyle Gurganious [Marymount], Dain McKee [Middlebury])
Milwaukee (Geoff Goyne [Hood], Colleen Dempsey [Sage])
Miami (Chris Barroso [Saint Anselm], Nate Smith [Skidmore])
Minnesota (Anthony Renz [Shippensburg], Ryan Sargent [Mansfield])
NY Knicks (Jon Holtz [Slippery Rock], Perry Laskaris [RPI])
Orlando (Rob Cunningham [Rowan], Joe Wydner [Arcadia])
Philadelphia (Bill Morgal [Shippensburg], Jason Bryden [Washington])
Portland (Tyler McIntosh [Slippery Rock], Matt [Slippery Rock])
Washington (Mary Raskob [Franciscan], Dan Decaria [Ithaca])
Utah (Dan Lauletta [Wilmington], Casey McGarvey [Coast Guard])
Game 1: Orlando 50, Minnesota 48
Game 2: Miami 36, Utah 26
Game 3: NY Knicks 47, Indiana 40
Game 4: Portland 52, Atlanta 49
Game 5: Houston 63, Detroit 56
Game 6: Cleveland 51, Milwaukee 50
Game 7: Washington 39, Philadelphia 36
Round 2 (Winners)
(Miami earned bye due to +10 margin in Round 1)
(Game numbers in Rounds 2-3 were lost by tournament archivist due to fatigue)
NY Knicks 56, Orlando 45
Houston 50, Portland 45
Cleveland 65, Washington 62 (2OT)
Rounds 2 & Kinda 3 (Losers)
(Milwaukee earned bye due to 1-point loss in Round 1)
Utah 53, Indiana 50 (Indiana eliminated)
Atlanta 49, Minnesota 39 (Minnesota eliminated)
Philadelphia 49, Detroit 44 (Detroit eliminated)
Milwaukee 74, Orlando 68 (OT) (Orlando eliminated)
Portland 49, Washington 38 (Washington eliminated)
*Utah (+3), Philadelphia (+5), Milwaukee (+6) eliminated due to time constraints, eliminated due to lowest scoring margins. Atlanta (+10), Portland (+11) allowed to advance
Round 3 (Winners)
NY Knicks 57, Houston 48
Miami 60, Cleveland 54 (OT)
Game 18: Atlanta 40, Portland 31 (Portland eliminated)
Game 19: Houston 67, Cleveland 47 (Cleveland eliminated)
Game 20: Miami 42, NY Knicks 41
Game 21: Atlanta 54, Houston 52 (Houston eliminated)
Game 22: NY Knicks 72, Atlanta 63 (OT) (Atlanta eliminated)
Game 23: Miami 51, NY Knicks 47 (NY Knicks eliminated)