CoBL Staff (@hooplove215)
The 17th edition of the Danny Rumph Classic rolled into its second night on Friday, with four more games at La Salle University in the double-elimination event.
The event is held annually as part of the Daniel E. Rumph II Foundation's effort to bring awareness to sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) and to provide screening for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, the leading cause for SCA.
As always, anybody who’d been watching Philly hoops for a few years would recognize just about everybody involved, with former area high school and college stars making up a majority of the eight teams in the all-star affair.
Here’s a roundup of Friday’s action, which saw two teams advance to Saturday’s semifinals, four others stay in contention and two others eliminated from contention:
Game 1: 8EYE 80, PF Workout 72
The old man proved he still has it. Former Norristown High and Temple star Khalif Wyatt showed his old-man’s game by popping in a game-high 21 points, including three treys, in leading 8EYE to the victory in the first game Friday night. It was a great rebound response by 8EYE, after losing in an upset to Blue Star on Thursday night.
Ahmad "J.R." Gilbert scored 18 points for PF in a losing effort. (Photo: Mark Jordan/CoBL)
For 8EYE, it looked dangerously close to being blown in the opening minutes, as former Neumann-Goretti and University of Miami star Ja’Quan Newton helped get PF out to a 10-0 lead. 8EYE did not score its first bucket until Wyatt punched in a put-back with 5:49 left on the running clock in the first quarter.
But by the end of the opening stanza, Wyatt had given 8EYE lead it would not relinquish the rest of the game when he closed an old-fashioned three-point play, giving 8EYE a 16-15 edge. 8EYE went on a 23-8 run to take firm control of the game.
The closest PF would get down the stretch was 62-59 off a three-pointer with 6:42 to play from former Constitution and Rider star Ahmad Gilbert, who finished with a team-high 18. But Wyatt came back again, sinking a pair of free throws that opened 8EYE’s lead to five and Maurice Henry (Delaware State) put the anvil down with a slam to clinch it in the last minute. Gilbert led PF with 18 points while Newton added 13. Former Drexel Dragon and Neumann-Goretti star Troy Harper finished with 16 for 8EYE, with Henry chipping in with 12 points and solid interior defense.
With the loss, PF workout is done for the tournament; 8EYE will play on Saturday afternoon at 1 PM against Rex6. — Joseph Santoliquito
Game 2: Team F.O.E. 87, Arete Sports 81
For anybody in the crowd who doubted the overall talent level in the NBA, Marcus Morris served up a healthy reminder.
Marcus Morris (above) is all smiles as Team F.O.E. moved to 1-1 in the Rumph Classic. (Photo: Mark Jordan/CoBL))
The former Prep Charter and Kansas standout, who along with his brother has played the last 11 seasons in the Association, was electric in leading Team FOE to its win, scoring 33 points, hitting seven 3-pointers and making it look easy the whole way through.
His twin brother, Markieff Morris, joined him with 22 points, scoring 20 of those in the second half, including a pair of 3-pointers of his own. Their former Kansas teammate and former NBA first-round pick, Thomas Robinson, added 18 of his own and certainly got to a double-double in the rebound category.
With the win, Team F.O.E. — which stands for ‘Family Over Everything,’ and who lost by a point to Rex6 in Thursday night’s opening round — stays alive for the Rumph title, with a game against 8eye on Saturday afternoon to qualify for Sunday’s singular ‘semifinal’ matchup, whose winner will face off Monday against the only unbeaten team left for the title.
They nearly didn’t pull it off, as Arete Sports — specifically, Justin Jaworski — nearly clawed all the way back from a 20-point deficit, with a couple looks at game-tying shots in the last couple minutes.
Jaworski, the former Perkiomen Valley and Lafayette standout, scored 33 points of his own, driving the crowd into a frenzy with each consecutive 3-pointer, though he couldn’t get quite enough help to overcome F.O.E.; nobody else on Arete Sports finished in double figures. — Josh Verlin
Game 3: Blue Magic 59, CTC 52
Blue Magic started the Rumph Classic against Jalen Brunson and 8EYE, defeating them in overtime on Thursday night.
On Friday night, Blue Magic won again, beating CTC, who featured another NBA talent, the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Lamar Stevens.
The first half was a low-scoring defensive affair with neither side getting into a rhythm offensively. The two sides started the third quarter tied at 26.
CTC’s James Bell created easy offense for Stevens.
One sequence saw Bell’s active hands knock the ball loose and slap it up the floor to a streaking Stevens, who finished with a two-handed slam on the opposite end to make it a 46-47 game with 7:36 left in the fourth quarter.
To the surprise of everyone packed into Tom Gola Arena, Stevens did not shut down the gym.
The former Roman Catholic and Haverford star finished with 17 points but could not find his groove down the stretch.
Down six points, CTC gave Stevens the ball. Blue Magic’s size and swarming defense forced Stevens to commit a shot-clock violation with 1:43 on the clock. Blue Magic never looked back.
One player’s performance made MC Eric “Ghee Funny” Tucker prematurely declare the Rumph Classic’s MVP.
His name? Scootie Randall.
Randall did it all for Blue Magic. The former Temple big man and All-Japanese BJ League forward found various ways to help his team.
Randall consistently finished through contact at the rim, shook defenders with his crossover, shot fadeaway jumpers from the baseline, attacked the glass, and distributed the rock in transition; he finished the night with 13 points.
“I try to be a basketball player,” Randall said afterward. “I try not to put myself into any category and I just try to do anything to help the team win.”
“I just go out there and play,” he continued. “I applaud those guys [Brunson and Stevens] for coming out here and playing with us.” — Jared Leveson
Game 4: Rumph Center 81, Rex 6 77
A night after pulling out a major come-from-behind win against Arete Sports, the addition of an NBA talent helped Team Rumph Center play ahead in Day 2. Forward Alize Johnson, who played for the New Orleans Pelicans most recently, scored 30 points and grabbed seven rebounds to curb the Rex 6 comeback attempt.
“It’s exciting just to get out here,” said Johnson, playing in his first Rumph Classic since 2019. “Just the competitiveness. There’s a lot of people that come out in Philadelphia to support this tournament. It’s one of my favorites, if not No. 1.”
Working together with point guard Maurice Watson Jr. in the pick-and-roll, Johnson did his damage in the interior with a number of hooks and slams. The connection started early as Rumph Center jumped out to a 15-6 lead, but Rex 6 pushed back as Wali Hepburn, who scored 21 points on the night, led the effort to put his team up 36-34 at halftime.
“We got out on them; they made a run back,” Johnson said. “They’re a great team and Rex 6 got great players, but we had to take that ‘dub.’”
Johnson’s work inside gave Rumph Center just enough cushion to go and stay ahead throughout the second half. Neumann-Goretti product Quade Green (15 points) buried a deep 3-pointer to cut the deficit to three for Rex 6 with 40 seconds remaining, but Rumph Center ultimately did enough to hold on and improve to 2-0; they’ll face Blue Magic in one of the semifinals on Saturday, though the loser of that game will still have a chance to win Sunday and get to Monday’s final. — Ty Daubert
1 PM: 8EYE vs. Rex6
2 PM: F.O.E. vs. CTC
3 PM: Rumph Center vs. Blue Magic
4 PM: Winner 8EYE/Rex 6 vs. Winner F.O.E./CTC