WEST POINT, N.Y. Jarell Brown scored seven of his game-high 19 points during a pivotal 16-2 Black Knight scoring run that spanned the first and second halves as the Army men’s basketball team pulled away from NJIT, defeating the Highlanders, 60-40, Wednesday evening at Christl Arena. The Black Knights improve to 7-2 on the season, while the Highlanders fall to 2-7.
Freshman forward Chris Walker tallied his first career double-double, scoring 10 points and ripping down 11 rebounds. Matt Bell chipped in with 12 points and five rebounds, while Marcus Nelson added seven points.
The game was hotly-contested early on as the teams combined for five lead changes through the first eight minutes. The two squads found themselves tied for the first time at 15-15 with 7:16 remaining in the first half, and that is when Army began its 16-2 spurt. The Black Knights held the Highlanders scoreless for the remainder of the half, outscoring the visitors, 7-0, down the stretch to take a 22-15 advantage into the locker room.
Brown sparked the late run with five points. The junior guard led Army in the first half with 11 points on 5 of 8 shooting.
The Black Knights picked up right where they left off as the second half began, outscoring NJIT 9-2 over the period’s first few minutes to assume a 31-17 lead at the 16:20 mark.
Following an 11-2 spurt, NJIT crept to within five points at 33-28 at the 12:35 mark, but that is as close as the Highlanders would get. Army took off on a 19-2 scoring run over the next six minutes to open up its largest lead of the game at 52-30 with 6:11 to play.
Army’s seven wins are already the most in a single season under fifth-year head coach Jim Crews. The Black Knights’ 7-2 start is their best since opening the 1978-79 campaign with an identical 7-2 mark.
NJIT’s 40 points marked the lowest point total allowed by Army since the Black Knights defeated Bethany, 57-38, during the 1997-98 season, a span of 250 games. The 40 points allowed to NJIT marked the lowest point total allowed by Army to a Division I opponent since the Mike Krzyzewski-coached Black Knights opened the 1975-76 campaign with a 56-29 defeat of Lafayette.
Army hauled in 12 offensive rebounds on the night en route to outrebounding NJIT, 31-24. The Black Knights shot 49.0 percent from the field, compared to 41.9 percent for the Highlanders.
Army now breaks for exams and will be idle until Dec. 16, when the Black Knights host N.Y. Purchase at Christl Arena. Tip off is set for 7 p.m.