Former Arizona guard Mark Lyons‘ team in The Basketball Tournament, Heartfire, dissolved in an 85-79 loss today against Men of Mackey in an opening round game.
Lyons, a graduate transfer at Arizona from Xavier in 2012-13, had 12 points and four assists in the loss. Lyons was assessed a technical foul in the third quarter that enabled Men of Mackey, a team comprised of former Purdue players, to cut the lead to six points but Heartfire managed to keep its lead. Lyons fouled out with Heartfire leading 79-75 with the clock turned off and the Elam ending enforced.
Heartfire was eliminated after leading by six points with 4 minutes left when the Elam ending was instituted. In the Elam ending, the game clock is turned off and a winning score is designated. In this case, it was 85.
In an interesting twist, Lyons was a teammate of former UCLA guard Jordan Adams. It was Adams who put his hand on the ball when Lyons was driving to the basket late in UCLA’s 66-64 win over Arizona in 2013 Pac-12 tournament at Las Vegas. Lyons was called for double-dribble. Arizona coach Sean Miller argued about the call and was given a technical foul. Replays showed Adams indeed touched the ball.
That caused Miller to say repeatedly in the postgame press conference, “He (Adams) touched the ball. He touched the ball. He touched the ball.”
Adams finished with three points in Heartfire’s loss today.
The Pac-12 delivered a public reprimand to Miller and threw in a $25,000 fine for emphasis, citing two postgame incidents as its reasons. Neither of those were for Miller’s postgame “He touched the ball” news conference, but for confronting a game official on the floor after the buzzer and acting inappropriately toward a conference staff member in the hallway of the arena.
It was later reported that Ed Rush, the Pac-12 coordinator of men’s basketball officiating, placed a bounty to reward the first ref who gave Miller a technical foul. Rush resigned after the conference aknowledged the bounty.
Earlier today, former Arizona forward Ryan Luther was part of the winning Herd That team that will play Nick Johnson’s The Money Team on Thursday at 11 a.m. on ESPN.
Lyons has played his entire seven-year pro career overseas at France, Croatia, Belgium, Israel, Turkey, Russia, Lebanon and Italy. He played the 2019-20 season with Hapoel Tel Aviv of the Israeli Premier League.
The Basketball Tournament labels itself the “fully quarantined tournament” with players tested daily and quarantined with no fans at Nationwide Arena at Columbus, Ohio.
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.