Army 74, Fairleigh Dickinson 52
WEST POINT, N.Y. Senior C Doug Williams scored a season-high 16 points to lead the Army men’s basketball team to a 74-52 win over Fairleigh Dickinson on Saturday evening at Christl Arena. The win was the Black Knights’ second in its last three games.
Army is now 3-7 on the year while Fairleigh Dickinson dropped to 1-7.
In addition to Williams, junior G Josh Miller and junior F Cleveland Richard each scored in double figures with 14 and 13 points, respectively. In all, 10 different players marked the scoring column, including six with at least eight points. Senior F Kenny Brewer snared a game-high six rebounds.
Eric Moore led the Knights with 10 points, all in the first half.
Army held a 28-26 rebounding advantage, ending an eight-game streak of getting outrebounded. Army also shot a season-high 56.1 percent from the floor, while the defense limited the Knights to a 32.6 percent showing. Army was 0 for 1 from three-point range, stopping a streak of 210 games with at least one three-pointer. The Black Knights forced 22 turnovers, but committed a season-high 27 miscues of their own.
The Black Knights also posted their best effort of the season from the foul line, connecting on 28 of 31 attempts. Army made its first 19 free throws before its first miss. The Black Knights were a combined 23 of 36 from the stripe in their previous four games. The Black Knights needed each of the freebies as they committed a season-high 28 fouls, sending FDU to the line 32 times (22-32).
The Black Knights never trailed in the game, scoring the first four points and eight of the first nine. FDU trimmed the lead to 8-4 on a three-pointer by Moore, but Army pushed its advantage back to seven points at 12-5 when Brewer finished a fast break with an emphatic slam with 13:09 left in the half.
The Knights stayed within striking distance, drawing within four points at 18-14 with 10:29 left in the half. The Black Knights took control with a 12-2 run over the next five minutes to take a 30-16 lead with 5:08 left. Moonshower scored four of his six first-half points during the run. A three-pointer by Moore interrupted the Black Knights’ momentum, but Army scored six of the next seven points to open up a 36-20 advantage, its largest of the half, with 1:14 to go. The Knights hit one of two foul shots to end the first-half scoring, and Army went into the locker room with a 36-21 lead.
It was the Black Knights’ largest lead at intermission since a 58-14 advantage against SUNY Maritime on Dec. 18, 2006.
Miller led a balanced Army attack with eight first-half points. Seven different players scored with five different players posting at least six markers.
Army made all 14 of its free throw attempts in the first half to top its season high from the foul line. The Black Knights’ previous high was 13 (13-15) versus Princeton. Army shot 52.4 percent in the opening stanza, while the defense limited the Knights to 23.8 percent from the floor and forced 13 turnovers.
The Black Knights picked up where they left off in the first half, opening the second stanza with an 11-2 run to take a 47-23 lead with 15:27 left in the game. FDU trimmed the deficit to 20 at 49-29, but the Black Knights scored the next five points, including an old-fashioned three-point play by Williams to seize a 54-29 advantage with 11:54 left.
Fairleigh Dickinson was able to get within 19 points at 61-42 with 5:47 left, but the Black Knights scored the next six points, all from the foul line, to re-establish a 25-point margin with 5:05 remaining. The Black Knights led by as many as 26 before finishing off the 22-point win.
The margin of victory was the Black Knights’ highest versus a Division I team since a 79-57 home victory versus Lafayette during the 1993-94 season.
"We got off to a good start, and we were consistent with our defense except for the fouls," Army head coach Jim Crews said. "I thought we played good defense and were able to get some points off it. It's been a tough week, but our guys played with a lot of energy and enthusiasm."
Army has a week off for term-ending exams before hosting VMI on Sunday, Dec. 21 at 1 p.m.
Game Notes: Santa Clause made an appearance at Christl Arena Saturday night, sitting with “The CREWs” to cheer on the Black Knights ... Army used 10 different players in the first half. FDU had only 11 players dressed for the game ... The Black Knights’ only three-point attempt came on a Josh Miller jumper as the first-half clock expired. It was the first time they did not make a three since Jan. 13, 2001 versus Colgate ... Cleveland Richard fouled out with 2:08 left in the game ...Army’s 90.3 free throw percentage was just off the Academy record of 96.0 percent (24-25) set against Navy on Feb. 26, 1966. The Black Knights were 26 of 27 from the line (96.3 percent) before missing two of their last four opportunities ... Marcus Nelson was the only starter not to make at least four field goals. Nelson was 0 for 1 from the floor ... Army has now won six of their last nine in December ... All three of Army’s wins this season have been by double figures. Only seven of the last 17 victories have been by at least 10 points ... Army is 11-8 in its last 19 games when scoring at least 60 points ... The Black Knights have kept opponents to 60 points or less in their last four games.