Feb. 29, 2012
American 57, Army 40
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The sixth-seeded Army men’s basketball team shot a season-low 26.3 percent, including a 4-for-26 showing from three-point range in its 57-40 loss at No. 3 American in the quarterfinals of the 2012 Patriot League Tournament Wednesday night. The Black Knights finished their season at 12-18.
Army trailed by just two with 9:46 left in the first half, but missed 11 straight shots and went 13 minutes, 32 seconds without a field goal as the Eagles built a 19-point lead in the opening minutes of the second half.
Senior F Ella Ellis scored a team-high 13 points and secured his second double-double of the season with a game-high 10 rebounds. Ellis also blocked two shots and made one steal. Senior G Julian Simmons ended his career with nine points, moving into 15th place on Army’s all-time scoring list with 1,255 points. Freshman G Maxwell Lenox handed out a team-high four assists and made three steals, finishing his rookie season as the team leader in both categories.
Daniel Munoz was the only American player in double figures with 11. The Army defense held the Eagles to just 39.1 percent from the field in the game, and limited the Patriot League’s second-leading scorer, Charles Hinkle to nine points. It was the second time this season that Army limited Hinkle, who entered the game scoring 18.8 points per game, to less than 10 points.
Army outscored the Eagles in the paint, 18-14. American outrebounded the Black Knights, 40-36, but Army held an 11-6 edge on the offensive glass.
Both teams struggled at the start, going two minutes, eight seconds without a point. The Eagles hit two three-pointers to claim a 6-0 lead with 17:12 on the first-half clock. Springer stopped Army’s 0-6 start with a basket, but American knocked down its third three of the half to claim a 9-2 advantage.
Army pieced together a 7-2 run on a three-pointer by Simmons and back-door layups by Ellis and freshman G Mo Williams to claw back within a basket at 11-9 with 9:46 left. The Black Knights could muster just two more points on a pair of free throws by Lenox as the Eagles finished the half on a 12-2 run to lead 23-11 at halftime. Army missed its last nine shots from the field.
The Black Knights shot just 16.7 percent (4-24) overall and 9.1 percent (1-11) from three-point range in the opening half. Simmons led the team with five points, making the teams’ only three-pointer. The Eagles shot just 36.0 percent overall, but knocked down four of their 10 three-point tries. Munoz led all players with six first-half points on two triples.
The Eagles picked up where they left off, scoring nine of the first 11 points of the second half to open up a 32-13 lead with 16:04 to go. The Black Knights were able to trim three points off their deficit, but a 6-0 run by the Eagles pushed the Army deficit to 39-17 with 11:33 on the clock.
Army rattled off a 13-2 run, including two three-pointers by Ellis, to cut its deficit in half at 41-30 with 6:36 left. The Eagles answered with eight of the next 10 points to re-establish a 17-point margin. The Black Knights had one more push, trimming the lead back to 12 on a three-point play by Ellis, but the Eagles scored four straight points at the foul line to quash the comeback attempt.
American (20-10) advanced to the semifinals for the 11th straight year and will travel to second-seeded Lehigh on Saturday.
Game Notes: Wednesday’s game was the final appearance in an Army uniform for Pat Harris, Josh Johnson and Julian Simmons … Army’s 2,027 points this season were the sixth most in Army history … it is the first time since 1993-94, 1994-95 that the Black Knights went over 2,000 points in consecutive seasons … Army has lost 22 straight games when shooting below 33.3 percent and 15 straight when scoring less than 50 points … Ella Ellis ended the season as just the second Army player to eclipse 500 points, 130 rebounds and 50 assists in the same season … he finished with 525 points, 147 rebounds and 63 assists … Ellis moved into 27th on Army’s career scoring list with 1,037 career markers entering his senior season.