Final Statistics: Army 68, American 48
Army Postgame Quotes
WEST POINT, N.Y. – Senior C Chris Walker had his highest-scoring game in two seasons, helping Army (12-6, 2-2 PL) to a 68-48 win over American (4-15, 1-3 PL) in Patriot League men’s basketball action from Christl Arena on Wednesday night. While Walker posted a season-high 14 points from the inside, senior G Josh Miller provided a team-leading 15 points from the perimeter.
The victory snapped Army’s seven-game losing streak to the Eagles dating back to a 60-55 win at Christl Arena during the 2006-07 season. The win also surpassed the Black Knights’ season total from 2008-09.
Walker’s offensive output matched the second-best scoring output of his career. It was his seventh career game in double figures and first in a span of 42 games.
Miller led all players with three three-pointers and added two rebounds, three assists, two steals and only one turnover in 30 minutes of action. Junior F Jeremy Hence rounded out the Black Knights’ top scorers with 11 points, equaling his career best. Senior F Cleveland Richard handed out a team-high four assists to go along with seven points on 3 for 5 from the field.
Vlad Moldoveanu led the Eagles with a game-high 22 points. He was the only American player in double figures. Stephen Lumpkins grabbed a game-high seven rebounds.
The Army defense forced 19 turnovers that led to 27 points for the Black Knights. American scored just six points off only seven Army miscues.
The Black Knights had their second-best shooting game of the season, hitting 54.0 percent that included a blistering 65.2 percent in the second half. It was their best effort from the floor since hitting 56.4 percent against VMI in the season opener. American finished the game at 43.6 percent, but hit 66.7 percent after halftime to recover from a 23.8 percent showing in the first half. Army hit 7 of 14 three-pointers, while the Eagles were just 5 for 15 from deep.
American held a 26-23 rebounding edge. It was just the fifth time this season the Black Knights were victorious while getting outrebounded.
The Eagles got on the board first on a three-pointer by Moldoveanu, while Army struggled out of the gate, missing its three shots and committing two turnovers before Miller ended a three-minute, two-second drought with a jumper to make it 3-2 with 16:58 remaining.
Miller’s basket started a 7-0 Army run, including five points by Hence that gave the Black Knights a 7-3 lead. Nick Hendra ended a four-minute, 54-second scoreless stretch for the Eagles with a three-pointer to pull American within one at the 14:07 mark.
Back-to-back putback buckets by senior F Eric Zastoupil gave the Black Knights an 11-6 lead, but Moldoveanu drained his second three of the half to pull the Eagles within two with 10:21 on the clock. The Black Knights scored the next nine point, including four Walker, to take a 20-9 advantage with 5:59 left. The Eagles ended a five-minute, 32-second dry spell with a three-pointer by Steve Luptak to cut their deficit to 20-12 with 4:49 on the first-half clock.
Back-to-back triples by Miller and Simmons made it 26-12 with 2:46 left in the opening stanza. Army led 28-14 when Moldoveanu scored in the lane for the Eagles’ first two-point basket of the game with 1:46 remaining. American missed its first seven shots inside the three-point line.
Hence made one of two free throws to push Army’s lead to 29-16 before Nick Hendra answered with a foul shot to cut the Army advantage back to 12. The Eagles rebounded Hendra’s second missed foul shot, but the Army defense denied two shot attempts in the final seconds to maintain its 29-17 lead heading into intermission.
Army shot 44.4 percent, including 4-of-7 from three-point range while the defense forced 12 turnovers and limited the Eagles to 23.8 percent from the floor. Seven different Black Knights scored in the first half led by Miller’s eight markers. Moldoveanu led the Eagles with eight points as well, including a pair of triples.
Walker went to work in the early going of the second half, scoring six of Army’s first 10 points as the Black Knights opened up a 39-21 lead with 17:07 left. Moldoveanu got the Eagles within 16, but Army went on a 15-2, including five points by junior G Mitch McDonald to take its largest lead at 54-25 with 12:14 remaining. Miller provided the exclamation point with a long three-pointer as the shot clock expired, and Simmons finished the scoring with a driving layup.
American used a 12-3 spurt to pull within 57-37 at the 7:13 mark, but Army answered with a three-pointer by freshman F Ella Ellis, the fifth different Black Knight to make at least one three-pointer in the game, to push the lead back to 23 with 6:44 on the second-half clock. The final margin of 20 points was as close as the Eagles would come for the remainder of the game.
Army’s 68-48 win was just the fourth time the Black Knights won a Patriot League game by at least 20 points. Two of those wins have come in the last two seasons (79-55 at Lafayette).
The Black Knights open a three-game road trip to on Saturday, Jan. 23 at arch-rival Navy. Tip-off is set for 12 p.m., and the game will be televised nationally by CBS College Sports Network. The Black Knights and Mids have split the season series in each of the last six seasons.
Game Notes: Marcus Nelson was back in uniform, but Jeremy Hence started his third straight game … Nelson missed the previous two games with an ankle injury … he tied for the team lead with three rebounds … Army’s 12-point halftime lead marked only the third time this season the Black Knights have led by double digits through 20 minutes (32-16 at Fairleigh Dickinson; 27-14 at Princeton) … Mitch McDonald’s five points during Army’s 15-2 run represented the junior’s career high for points in a game … Cleveland Richard’s five field goal attempts were a season low and stopped a seven game streak with at least 11 shots .. Richard made his only three-point attempt of the game … Army scored just 70 total points in two regular-season games against American last season … Army’s 68 points were the most it has scored against the Eagles in a game since they joined the Patriot League in 2001-02 … the Black Knights have won eight home games (8-1) this season, the most since the 2006-07 team went 10-4 … the win clinched a winning record at home for the season … Army is 5-0 this season when allowing less than 50 points … the Black Knights are now 13-8 when one of their big men scores in double figures.