The members of Scarlet & Gray were eating Sunday breakfast at their hotel when they got a surprise visit. After having missed the team’s Super 16 game Friday night in The Basketball Tournament on account of his pending wedding the following day, a newly married Jared Sullinger came strolling in.
Sullinger’s new wife, DeAnn, had surprised him with two tickets for them to fly to Atlanta in time for him to play in Sunday afternoon’s showdown with Team Fredette for a berth in the semifinals of the winner-take-all, $2 million tournament. According to the ESPN broadcast, she had gotten two hours of sleep between the nuptials and the game.
The storybook feel for the weekend ended there. After reaching the semifinals of last year’s tournament, Scarlet & Gray fell short of that mark with a thud. The team, primarily composed of former Ohio State players, led for the first few minutes but fell behind midway through the first quarter and never seriously threatened again in a 100-78 loss.
Sullinger started the game alongside Greg Oden, who replaced him in the starting lineup for Friday’s win against Prime Time Players, won the opening tip and scored on a right-handed hook shot on the first possession of the game. He entered the game having averaged 24.0 points and 13.0 rebounds in the first two games, which were played at Capital University.
Trailing 51-37 in the final seconds of the second quarter, Scarlet & Gray got a layup from David Lighty and then a gift when Jimmer Fredette stepped over the line while inbounding the ball with 2.5 seconds left. That gave Scarlet & Gray the ball under its own basket, and it ran a play to get Jon Diebler the ball under the basket off a screen.
It worked and he drew the foul, but Diebler only hit one of the two free throws to set the halftime deficit at 11, 51-40. Not even a minute into the third quarter, though, the Team Fredette lead had grown to 17 points with a quick 7-1 run, and a tired-looking Scarlet & Gray had no answers.
Team Fredette did it without overly relying on its namesake, the 2011 NCAA Player of the Year from Brigham Young. Fredette put up 41 points in Friday’s win against a team from Fort Wayne, Indiana, but he finished with a methodical 28 points. All five starters scored at least 13 points, and Team Fredette shot 57.4 percent from the field. Fredette did much of his early damage against Lighty before drawing a much-anticipated matchup with Aaron Craft late once the game was largely decided.
The turnover margin was significant, too. Team Fredette turned 14 Scarlet & Gray turnovers into 27 points, while its 11 turnovers only led to 10 points for the former Buckeyes.
Lighty led Scarlet & Gray with 16 points, while Craft had 13, Sullinger 12 and Courtney Pigram 11 off the bench. Oden didn’t play during the second half and finished with two points. Scarlet & Gray was 7 for 26 (26.9 percent) from three-point range as Diebler went 1 for 8 and both William Buford and Pigram were 1 for 4.