WASHINGTON, D.C. The Army defense allowed just 11 field goals, but American outscored the Black Knights 23-3 at the foul line to score a 49-40 win over the Black Knights on Wednesday, Feb. 20 at Bender Arena.
The loss was Army’s third in a row, dropping the Black Knights to 11-14 overall and 4-7 in Patriot League play. It is the first time this season the Black Knights have lost three consecutive games. American won its sixth in a row to improve to 17-10 overall and 9-3 in conference action.
The Eagles led by nine at the half, and the two teams played even after intermission. The Eagles managed just three second-half field goals, but hit 19 of 24 foul shots in the second stanza to secure the win. Seventeen of American’s last 21 points came from the free throw line.
Senior G Jarell Brown led the Black Knights with 12 points, all on three-pointers. He was Army’s only player in double figures. Junior F Doug Williams just missed his second double-double of the season with nine points and a game-high 11 rebounds. It was his third double-digit rebounding effort of the season. Sophomore G Tyrell Thompson and sophomore Cleveland Richard each added six points. Richard led the defensive effort with two steals and two blocked shots.
Brown’s four three-pointers increased his season total to 88, moving him into third place on Army’s single-season list. He surpassed his season total of 87 from a year ago.
Garrison Carr was the only American player in double figures with a game-high 16 points, including a 6 of 6 effort from the free throw line. Travis Lay added eight points, while Cornelio Guibunda snared a team-best seven rebounds.
Neither team shot well from the field with Army hitting 16 of 46 shots (34.8 percent) and the Eagles connecting on just 28.2 percent of their field goal attempts (11-39). American was 23 of 31 at the stripe, while the Black Knights were just 3 for 7. American outrebounded the Black Knights, 38-29. Army committed 14 turnovers, but only four in the second half.
American never trailed in the game as Bryce Simon opened the low-scoring first half with a three-pointer to give the Eagles a 3-0 lead. Brown was able to knot the score at 5-5 on the first of his two three-pointers in the half with 15:40 to go, but Army made just three more field goals for the remainder of the first stanza. American used an 18-6 run to take a 23-11 lead with five seconds remaining following a driving basket by Carr, but Corban Bates tossed in a half-court heave at the buzzer to send Army into the locker room down nine at 23-14. Army’s 14 points represented its lowest-scoring half of the season.
The Black Knights shot just 5 for 20 from the floor with 10 turnovers in the first half. Brown led all scorers with six points before halftime. The Army defense limited the Eagles to 36.4 percent from the floor (8-22) and forced nine American turnovers. The Eagles outrebounded the Black Knights 20-12 in the first half, including a 5-1 edge on the offensive glass.
American opened the second-half scoring with a free throw by Travis Lay, but the Black Knights scored six of the next seven points to cut the deficit to 25-20 with 17:44 left in the half. A Carr three-pointer with 16:47 left stretched the lead back to eight, but Army held American without a field goal for the next seven minutes, 31 seconds while outscoring the Eagles 12-4 over the next five-plus minutes. Army trailed by three when Brown drilled a triple off the break to tie the game at 32-32 with 10:56 left. The Eagles reclaimed control with a 13-4 run to take a 45-36 lead. Williams scored four straight for the Black Knights to cut the lead to 45-40 with 2:05 left, but the Eagles scored the final four points of the game from the foul line to set the final score at 49-40.
Army’s 49 points allowed were the fewest in a loss this season. The previous low was a 50-44 defeat at Colgate on Jan. 12.
The Black Knights start a three-game homestand to end the regular season on Saturday, Feb. 23 when they host arch-rival Navy in the annual “Star” game. Tip-off at Christl Arena is scheduled for 2 p.m., and the game will be broadcast regionally by CBS.
Game Notes: The Black Knights have never defeated the Eagles on their home floor since American joined the Patriot League in 2001-02 (0-7) ... Wednesday’s game was Army’s last regular-season road game ... American has now won six games in a row ... The Eagles clinched a top-four seed and at least one home game in the Patriot League Tournament ... Army used its 12th starting lineup of the season with Jon Sizemore, Jarell Brown, Josh Miller, Doug Williams and Cleveland Richard getting the nod for the first time together ... Miller fouled out with 5:08 left in the game ... Tyrell Thompson fouled out with 4:31 remaining ... Army has been outscored 63-16 from the free throw line in the last three games ... All six of Thompson’s points came in the second half ... Army is now 0-3 when scoring less than 50 points.