Brown 80, Army 73
PROVIDENCE, R.I. Brown used a late 9-0 run to break open a 63-63 tie with 3:59 to go and went on to an 80-73 win over Army Saturday night at the Pizzitola Center. Freshman G Julian Simmons led the Black Knights with a career-high 18 points in the loss.
Army (1-4) dropped its fourth straight game, while the Bears (2-3) have now won two of their last three outings.
Simmons scored five of his points in the final minute to bring Army within three points at 76-73 with less than 30 seconds to go. The Katy, Texas, native hit his career-best fourth three of the game to trim the lead to 76-71 then stole the inbounds pass and laid it in to cut the margin to one possession. The Bears were able to stem the tide, however, scoring the final four points to take the seven-point win.
Army led by three points with less than seven minutes to play and held a 61-59 advantage with less than six minutes to go.
“We just didn’t complete some things,” Army head coach Jim Crews said. “We got the ball inside a couple of times late, but we just didn’t finish. We did a lot of good things, but obviously not enough since we didn’t get the win.”
Simmons was 6 of 13 from the floor, including 4 of 7 from three-point range. Three other players scored in double figures for the Black Knights. Junior G Josh Miller netted a season-high 16 points, 12 of which came in the second half. He also dished out a game-high seven assists. Junior F Cleveland Richard chipped in with 12 points, his fourth double-digit effort in five games, and junior C Chris Walker tallied a season-best 10 points. Junior G Marcus Nelson, Miller and Walker tied for the team lead with four rebounds.
“Julian is a very active kid,” Crews said. “He has a great scoring mentality and can put the ball in the bucket. He’s still learning how to play Division I basketball, but he’s a bright kid and wants to do well. He was a good spark.”
Peter Sullivan led all players with 26 points, including five three-pointers, and eight rebounds. Four of the Bears’ starters reached double figures. Matt Mullery posted 17 points, while Chris Skrelja tallied 15 points and completed the double-double with 11 assists. Adrian Williams rounded out the quartet with 10 markers.
The Black Knights had their best shooting performance of the season at 48.3 percent, but the Bears hit a sizzling 52.4 percent for the game. Brown connected on 10 of 20 three-pointers and outscored Army at the line by nine points. The Bears hit 18 of 26 foul shots, while the Black Knights made 9 of 15 from the charity stripe.
Army scored the first two points on a baseline jumper by senior C Doug Wiliams, but the Bears scored the next eight points to take their first lead. The run was capped by a three-pointer by Adrian Williams with 16:51 left in the half. The Black Knights came right back with a 7-0 run of their own to take a 9-8 lead following a free throw by sophomore G Nathan Hedgecock. Nelson put the exclamation point on the run with a dunk off an outlet pass by Walker.
That was the last time the Black Knights led in the first half as the Bears went on a 15-4 run to claim a double-digit advantage at 23-13 with 9:40 left in the half. Again Army responded, this time with a 14-4 run that was ignited by back-to-back baskets by Richard. Simmons’ three-pointers with 4:44 left in the half knotted the score at 27-27.
Brown scored the next five points to take a 32-27 advantage on a three-pointer by Sullivan with 4:01 to go. Another three-pointer by Simmons brought the Black Knights within a basket, but the Bears ended the half on a 9-4 run, including four points at the foul line, to take a 41-34 lead into intermission.
Sullivan led all scorers with 16 points in the first 20 minutes. Simmons paced the Black Knights with 10 points in only five minutes of play. It was the rookie’s first double-digit scoring half of his career and his second game with at least 10 points in his last three outings.
Army shot 50.0 percent in the first half, but was bettered by the Bears 60.9 percent field goal accuracy rate. Brown connected on 5 of 10 three-pointers in the opening stanza.
The Black Knights opened the second half on a 6-1 run, and a basket by Doug Williams brought Army within two at 42-40 with 16:05 left. Skrelja hit a three-pointer with 15:02 left to end a span of 4:48 without a field goal and push the lead back to five points. Army came right back to score eight of the next 10 points and take a 48-47 lead off a spinning post move by Nelson with 12:16 left.
Brown scored the next five points with Sullivan’s third three-pointer putting the Bears up 52-48 with 11:30 to. A three-pointer by Miller put Army back on top by one with 10:01 left, but Adrian Williams fired right back with a triple of his own to put the Bears back in front. Army scored the next five points to take a 58-55 lead, but two missed free throws prevented the Black Knights from furthering its advantage. With Army up 59-56, Sullivan again came up big for the Bears, tying the game on three-pointer with 5:30 to go.
Army went ahead by two, but the Bears scored four straight before Miller tied the game for the final time at 63-63, setting up Brown’s decisive scoring spurt.
The seven-point decision marked the seventh straight game between Army and Brown that was decided by less than 10 points.
The Black Knights wrap up their three-game swing through the Ivy League on Saturday when they travel to Harvard. Tip-off in Cambridge, Mass., is slated for 2 p.m.
Game Notes: Josh Miller was back in the starting lineup after coming off the bench against Princeton ... Cleveland Richard, Marcus Nelson and Nathan Hedgecock are the only three players to start each of the first five games ... Army has now lost 16 straight when allowing more than 70 points ... The Black Knights’ 73 points were the most since last year’s game versus Brown at Christl Arena, a 79-78 loss to the Bears ... Army is now 5-18 in its last 23 games when getting outrebounded (36-23) ... Army still leads the all-time series with the Bears, 13-9 ... Army has lost both its games this season with four players scoring in double figures ... The Black Knights had four players score at least 10 in one game just once last season ... It is Army’s longest losing streak since a seven-game skid in 2006-07 ... The Black Knights will stay in New England for the Thanksgiving holiday before taking on Harvard on Saturday.