Feb. 8, 2012
Lafayette 90, Army 76
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WEST POINT, N.Y. - Lafayette (11-13, 6-3 Patriot League) used a 14-3 second-half run to break open a one-point game and went on to a 90-74 win over Army (10-14, 3-6 Patriot League) Wednesday night at Christl Arena. Junior F Ella Ellis posted his third career double-double with 26 points and 10 rebounds. It was his 26th straight game in double figures and 10th 20-point effort of the season.
Army trailed 39-35 at halftime, but was able to tie the game at 41-41. The Leopards pushed back out to a five-point lead, but the Black Knights trimmed their deficit back to one point before Lafayette's decisive run. Army went three minutes, 37 seconds between field goals during that stretch.
In addition to Ellis' double figure night, senior G Julian Simmons added 14 points and freshman G Maxwell Lenox tallied 11 points. The Black Knights were 6-for-24 from three-point range in the game, shooting just 39.6 percent overall, and turned the ball over 20 times.
Ryan Willen paced the Leopards with 22 points, half of which came from the free throw line. Jim Mower added 17 points, while Tony Johnson and Rob Delaney finished with 11 and 10 markers, respectively. Army limited the Leopards to just five three-pointers (5-14), 4.1 below their season average that ranked fifth in the nation entering the contest.
The two teams combined for 51 fouls and 66 free throws. Lafayette was 31-for-37 from the line, while the Black Knights hit 25 of their 29 tries.
The Leopards scored the first six points before Ellis ended Army's scoring drought with a three-pointer two minutes, 19 seconds into the contest. The Black Knights missed their first four shots, including three three-point tries. Herbeck tied the game at 6-6 with his first three-pointer, and gave the Black Knights their first lead at 11-10 with a three-pointer at the 14:51 mark.
The Black Knights trailed 12-11, but a 7-2, including five points by Ellis put the Black Knights on top 18-14 with 13:10 left on the first-half clock. The Leopards answered with back-to-back three-pointers to take a 20-18 edge with 10:27 left. Army went nearly five minutes without a field goal, but the Leopards could muster no more than a two-point lead during the Black Knights' drought.
Lafayette led 24-22 before Army scored the next four points to reclaim a two-point lead. The Black Knights were able to stretch their advantage to 30-27, but the Leopards tallied the next four points to regain a one-point advantage on a pair of Willen free throws with 4:04 left. The see-saw tipped back Army's direction on a three-point play by Ellis that gave the Black Knights a 33-31 advantage.
Army led 35-33 after two more freebies from Ellis, but the Leopards ended the half on a 6-0 run to take a 39-35 lead into intermission. The Black Knights missed their last three shots of the half.
The first 20 minutes featured 10 ties and eight lead changes. Ellis led all players with 17 points in the opening stanza. Willen paced the Leopards with nine points, all from the free throw line.
The Black Knights shot just 9-for-24 overall and 4-for-15 from three-point range in the first half, but hit 13 of their 15 free throw tries. The Leopards were 10-for-24 (.417) overall and 2-for-6 from three-point range, but hit 17 of their 19 free throw opportunities.
Army scored six of the first eight points of the second half to tie the game at 41-4, but a three-point play by Mower that drew Ellis' third foul with 17:14 remaining started a 5-0 run that pushed the Leopards back in front 46-41. Lenox hit a three-pointer as the shot clock wound down to cut the Army deficit back to two points, and the Black Knights were able to get within one on a layup by freshman G Mo Williams with 15:07 left.
The Leopards seized control for good with their 14-3 run that gave them a 61-49 lead with 11:53 left. Army was able to close the gap to 10 points, but would not get any closer. Lafayette led by as many as 18 points in the final minutes.
Army wraps its two-game homestand on Saturday when it hosts arch-rival Navy in the annual "Star Game". Tip-off of the men's game is at 2:30 p.m. with the women's contest beforehand at noon. Both games will be televised live on CBS Sports Network. The Black Knights won the first meeting of the season in Annapolis.
Game Notes: The Army players and coaching staff supported the women's basketball team's Pink Zone initiative, a national effort to raise breast cancer awareness and prevention ... the coaches wore pink dress shirts, while the players sported socks with a pink accents ... Army is now 6-2 in its last eight home games ... Ella Ellis is now within 47 points of 1,000 for his career ... Josh Herbeck moved into 11th place on Army's all-time three-point shooting list (98) ... the Black Knights have lost 31 of 32 games when giving up at least 80 points ... Lafayette's 90 was a season-high against the Black Knights ... Army has lost three straight for the first time this season ... Army has not lost back-to-back home games since November.