WEST POINT, N.Y. Jarell Brown scored 25 points and Matt Bell tallied a season-high 24 points to lead the Army men’s basketball team past Lafayette, 83-65, Wednesday evening in Patriot League action at Christl Arena.
Army (14-14, 4-9 Patriot League) shot a blistering 71.4 percent from the floor in the first half in jumping out to a 22-point lead less than 14 minutes into the game. The Black Knights, who shot 60.5 percent from the field for the game, were in control from start to finish.
The win snaps a seven-game losing streak, and moves the Black Knights into a three-way tie for fifth place in the Patriot League standings. The 18-point margin of victory marks the largest for Army in a Patriot League game since defeating Navy, 63-43, during the 2004-05 season.
“I thought we played well, both offensively and defensively,” said Army head coach Jim Crews. “The first half was great. We scored off of our defense, our offense was sharp and I thought we played off of each other very well. We had a good energy level, which was awesome.”
Bell, who hit his first five shots from the floor, scored 11 of Army’s first 14 points as the Black Knights connected on their first six shots in jumping out to a 14-7 lead at the 16:05 mark. After Lafayette (9-19, 3-10 Patriot League) trimmed Army’s lead to 14-9 just moments later, the Black Knights reeled off a 25-8 scoring spurt to assume a commanding 39-17 advantage with 6:25 to play before halftime. Brown canned three triples and scored 11 points during the Black Knights’ surge.
Lafayette would not go down without a fight, however, as the Leopards outscored Army 21-8 down the stretch to cut the Black Knights’ lead down to nine points (47-38) at intermission. Andrew Brown, who led Lafayette with 19 points on the night, made two three-pointers in the last 22 seconds of the period to cap the Leopards’ burst.
Army put to rest any question of a Lafayette comeback early in the second half, opening the second stanza on a 16-3 run to reestablish a 22-point bulge at 63-41 just five minutes into the frame.
Army held Lafayette at bay throughout the final 14:53, keeping its lead at or above 16 points the rest of the way.
Kenny Brewer tied his season high with nine points, while Doug Williams and Cory Sinning each netted seven points apiece. Jimmy Sewell gave an inspired effort off the bench, scoring five points, snaring three rebounds and blocking three shots.
“Jimmy has helped the team immensely, even when he has not played,” added Crews. “It was neat for him to come in and make some good blocks and get a few dunks offensively. That was great.”
Army outrebounded Lafayette, 32-23, and the Black Knights held the Leopards to 31.9 percent shooting from the field.
Army returns to action on Saturday, Feb. 24, when the Black Knights host Bucknell at 1 p.m. at Christl Arena. Army will honor its four seniors in a pregame ceremony.