Army Comeback Falls Just Short In 54-53 Loss To NJIT

Jordan Springer registered his first career double-digit game with 10 points.

Jordan Springer registered his first career double-digit game with 10 points.

Nov. 30, 2011

Final Stats

Army vs. NJIT Statistics Get Acrobat Reader

WEST POINT, N.Y.  – Josh Herbeck’s last-second shot rimmed out, dashing Army’s (2-5) comeback attempt in a 54-53 loss to NJIT (3-4) on Wednesday night at Christl Arena. The Black Knights trailed by as many as 16 in the second half.

The Highlanders built a 42-26 lead with 15:10 to go, but the Black Knights outscored NJIT 27-12 for the reminader of the contest. Junior F Jordan Springer had a chance to tie the game with 20 seconds left, but his foul shot that would have completed a three-point play glanced off the rim. NJIT rebounded the ball and Army immediately sent the Highlanders’ Ryan Woods to the line. Woods missed the front end of a one-and-one, and Army corralled the rebound setting up the final possession. Freshman G Maxwell Lenox drove to the rim and dished to a cutting Herbeck, but his off-balance leaner was just off the mark sealing Army’s fate.

Junior F Ella Ellis led Army with 11 points, while Springer added a career-high 10 points and just missed a double-double with eight rebounds. The Black Knights struggled offensively all game shooting only 31.6 percent (18-57) overall and 8.3 percent (2-24) from three-point range. After making their second three-point attempt of the game, Army suffered through a stretch of 17 consecutive misses from behind the arc. Lenox led all players with a career-high 10 rebounds.

Lamar Kearse paced the Highlanders with 21 points on 8-for-12 shooting, including a 5-for-8 night from long range. Isaiah Wilkerson needed 24 shots to score 19 points (8-24). He also led the team in rebounding. NJIT shot just 35.5 percent from the floor for the game (22-62), but buried 10 three-pointers (10-29). The Highlanders missed all five of their free throw attempts.

Army held a 42-39 rebounding advantage and outscored the Highlanders in the paint, 26-12.

Springer put the Black Knights up early with a pair of free throws and Army led 5-3 before the Highlanders went on a 10-0 run to take the lead for good. A three-pointer by Kearse capped the run and gave NJIT a 13-5 edge with 16:02 left. Army cut the lead to four points, but five straight by the Highlanders extended their lead to 18-9 with 12:07 left in the opening stanza.

The Black Knights countered with five straight points to trim their deficit back to four points, but NJIT had the answer yet again, scoring the next six points to claim their first double-digit lead at 14-24 with 8:12 to go. Army got as close as six but the Highlanders closed the first half on a 10-2 run to take a 34-20 lead into intermission.

Army was just 6-for-29 from the floor in the first half and made only one of their 15 three-point tries in the first 20 minutes. Kearse scored 15 in the opening half to lead all players.

NJIT scored eight of the first 14 points of the second half to claim a 42-26 lead with 15:10 left. Army began the comeback with a jumper by sophomore F Andrew Stire which jumpstarted an 8-0 run that pulled the Black Knights within eight at 42-34 with 12:04 to go. Wilkerson drained a three-pointer to put the Highlanders back in front by double-digits, but Army scored the next five to whittle its deficit to 45-39 with 8:21 to go.

The Army comeback attempt appeared to stall as NJIT was able to reclaim a 10-point lead at 54-44 with 3:43 left, but the Black Knights’ defense did not allow the Highlanders to score for the remainder of the game. Army scored the final nine points of the contest to pull within one and set up their final attempt at a win.

Wednesday’s game was the second straight against the Highlanders to come down to the final shot. Army won last year’s meeting, 63-60, on a halfcourt buzzer beater by Jeremy Hence.

The Black Knights are back in action on Saturday when they travel to Binghamton. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.

Game Notes: Army used its sixth starting lineup in seven games … Jordan Springer is the only Army player to start all seven outings … Chris Gramling made his collegiate debut … Army dropped to 23-21 in its last 44 games decided by six points or less or in overtime … Army fell to 13-43 in its last 56 games scoring less than 60 points … the Black Knights’ three rebound advantage marked only the second time they pulled down more boards than their opponent this season … Maxwell Lenox is Army’s leading rebounder despite playing the point guard position … Ella Ellis has scored in double figures in all seven games this season and in nine straight overall.

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