Army 59, Bryant 48
SMITHFIELD, R.I. Senior F John Moonshower scored 11 points and dished out four assists in his first start of the season to lead the Army men’s basketball team to a 59-48 win over Bryant Monday night at the Chace Athletic Center. The victory snapped the Black Knights’ six-game losing streak and ended a five-game skid away from West Point.
Moonshower missed the first six games of the season and played only one minute prior to Monday’s game after a suffering an ankle injury in preseason practice. The Ohio City, Ohio, native shot 4 of 8 from the floor, including 3 of 6 from three-point range. He also blocked a shot and made two steals on the defensive end.
“John has been out for a long, long time,” Army head coach Jim Crews said. “His injury was very slow to heal, but he played very well tonight. He gave us some maturity and wisdom out there, and hit a couple of shots.”
Freshman G Jesse Steele tied for the team scoring lead with a career-high 11 points, including three three-pointers. Senior C Doug Williams tallied a season-high 10 markers to round out the Black Knights’ double-digit scorers. Eight different Army players scored at least three points. Junior G Josh Miller filled the stat sheet with seven points, five rebounds, four assists and a game-high three steals. Senior F Kenny Brewer had a season-high seven rebounds.
Cecil Gresham led the Bulldogs with a game-high 14 points, including four three-pointers. Peter Lambert also scored in double figures with 11 points, nine of which came from beyond the three-point line.
Army shot a season-high 50 percent for the game, including a 44.4 percent (8-18) showing from deep. The Black Knights were outrebounded 26-24, but were able to turn 18 Bryant turnovers into 14 points.
Back-to-back baskets by Williams put the Black Knights ahead 4-2 1:10 into the contest, but Gresham’s first three-pointer gave the Bulldogs their first and only lead of the game at 5-4. A free throw by Richard at the 17:21 mark tied the game at 5-5 and ignited a 12-0 run that gave Army a 16-5 lead with 10:49 left in the half. Steele keyed the run with a pair of triples.
Barry Latham stopped Bryant’s six-minute, 38-second scoring drought with a three-pointer, and Greshamn knocked down a triple on the break to pull the Bulldogs back within five at 16-11. Army again went on the attack, scoring nine of the next 11 points, including another three by Steele, to take a 25-13 advantage.
Another Gresham three-pointer started a 7-0 run for the Bulldogs that cut their deficit back to five points at 25-20 with 4:07 left. The Black Knights’ defense held Bryant scoreless for the remainder of the half, while the offense posted seven straight during that span to send Army into the locker room with a 32-20 lead.
Army hit 11 of 21 shots in the first half, including a 5 of 10 showing from deep. The Black Knights forced 13 first-half turnovers, scoring 10 points off the Bulldogs’ miscues. Army’s 32 first-half points represented its highest-scoring half since posting 39 markers in the second half at Brown on Nov. 26.
The Bulldogs seized a bit of momentum early in the second stanza, scoring five of the first seven points to trim the Army lead to 34-25 with 17:58 left in the half. The Black Knights countered with a 14-3 scoring run that put the game out of reach. A layup by junior F Cleveland Richard capped the run, which included two three-pointers by Moonshower, and gave the Black Knights a 48-28 lead. Army was able to stretch the advantage to as many as 21 points in the second half.
The Bulldogs came back with an 8-0 run to get within 13 points after back-to-back three-pointers by Lambert and a pair of free throws, but a layup by Brewer on the press break extended Army’s lead back to 15 points at 59-44 with 1:43 to go. Bryant scored the final four points of the contest to set the final 11-point margin.
The game marked just the sixth win in Army’s last 19 games when scoring fewer than 60 points.
The Black Knights have a quick turnaround and will travel to Penn State on Wednesday. The game will be televised nationally on ESPNU at 7 p.m.
Game Notes: Army used its fifth starting lineup in eight games ... John Moonshower made his first start of the season. Moonshower did not play in the first six games with an ankle injury ... Jesse Steele has registered a career-high scoring total in each of the last three games ... All three players that reached double figures did so for the first time this season. Ten different players have scored at least 10 points in a game for the Black Knights this season ... Army is now 17-4 in the Jim Crews Era when holding opponents to less than 50 points ... The Black Knights committed a season-low 15 fouls ... Wednesday’s game at Penn State will mark the third time this season Army has had just one day of rest between contests.