WEST POINT, N.Y. Matt Bell scored a game-high 17 points and Jarell Brown added 16 points as the Army men’s basketball team defeated Hartford, 62-53, Saturday afternoon at Christl Arena. The Black Knights (3-1) used a 34-11 run spanning the first and second halves, and never trailed again.
With Hartford (0-3) leading 20-13 at the 11:13 mark, Army turned up the defensive pressure, holding the Hawks without a field goal for the next 9:24. During that time, Army outscored Hartford, 13-0 to assume a 26-20 advantage.
Brown and Corban Bates each scored six points during the Black Knight run. It was Bates’ three-pointer from 26 feet with the shot clock about to expire that gave Army a 22-20 lead and brought the home crowd to its feet.
Hartford scored the final five points of the stanza, and Army went to halftime with a 26-25 lead. Army limited Hartford to 33.3 percent shooting in the opening 20 minutes, including 2 of 14 from three-point range. Army shot 39.1 percent from the floor in the first stanza, including 6 of 15 from behind the three-point line.
Army continued its surge in the second half, as the Black Knights opened the period with a 21-6 spurt to grab its largest lead of the day at 47-31with 8:23 to play. Freshman Marcus Nelson, who played 24 minutes, scored six of his career-high 12 points during the run.
Hartford refused to quit, however, as the Hawks responded with a 10-0 run over the next 2:12 to trim Army’s advantage to 47-41 at the 6:11 mark. Another three-pointer from Bates upped Army’s lead to 50-41, but a quick 6-2 spurt by Hartford brought the Hawks to within five at 52-47 at the 3:21 mark. That is as close as the visitors would get, however, as Army converted its free throws down the stretch to secure the victory.
Army held a commanding 38-28 margin in total rebounds. Another factor in the outcome was three-point shooting. Hartford converted just 6 of 31 tries (.194), while Army hit 10 of 24 (.417).
In addition to scoring 12 points, Nelson added six rebounds and a game-high six assists. Bates finished with nine points and a game-high eight rebounds. Cory Sinning chipped in with six points and three assists for the Black Knights, who are 3-1 for the first time since the 2001-02 season.
Bell, who moved into 25th place on Army’s all time scoring chart with 988 points, needs just 12 markers to become the 25th player in Black Knights’ hardwood history to score 1,000 career points.
Army returns to action on Tuesday, Nov. 21, hosting Cornell at Christl Arena at 7 p.m.