WEST POINT, N.Y. Senior G Jarell Brown scored a game-high 23 points to lead the Army men’s basketball team to a 70-66 victory against visiting Portland at Christl Arena on Saturday, Jan. 5. Brown, the Patriot League’s leading scorer, hit for at least 20 in the second straight game and the ninth time this season.
The Black Knights finished their five-game homestand with a 3-2 record and currently stand at 7-6 on the season.
Eighteen of Brown’s 23 points came after halftime. In the second stanza, he was 5 for 7 from the floor, including 4 of 5 from three-point range. He finished the game 7 of 12 and 5 of 7 from long range. Brown also hit all four of his free throw attempts in the final 30 seconds.
Junior F Doug Williams was the only other Army player in double figures with 10 points, seven of which came in the first half. Williams entered the game just 4 of 11 from the free throw line, but drilled all four of his attempts versus the Pilots. As a team, Army was 16 for 23 from the foul line. Sophomores Josh Miller and Chris Walker tied for the team lead with five rebounds. Miller, the Patriot League leader in assists, extended his streak of games with at least five assists to six with six helpers. Sophomore G Marcus Nelson led the Black Knights with a career-high tying seven assists.
Walker, senior Corban Bates and junior Kenny Brewer all scored seven points off the bench. All 11 Black Knights that saw game action scored at least two markers. Army’s bench outscored the Pilots’ reserves, 29-21.
Army shot at least 50 percent for the second straight game, hitting 24 of 48 shots, while holding the Pilots to 42.3 percent from the floor. Portland held a 35-27 advantage on the boards, including a 23-12 margin in the second half. Army committed a season-low 11 turnovers, while forcing 16 Portland miscues.
Sherrard Watson led four Portland players in double figures with 17. Taishi Ito added 13 points, while Robin Smeulders contributed 10 markers and a game-high nine boards off the bench.
Army scored first and led 4-3 on two straight jumpers by junior F John Moonshower. The Pilots took a 5-4 advantage with 15:21 left in the first half, but the Black Knights went on a 20-9 run over the next 10:24 to take their largest lead of the game at 24-14. Brown capped the run with his first three-pointer off a fastbreak feed from Miller. Brewer scored all seven of his first-half points during the run, including his team-best seventh traditional three-point play. Williams scored six points during the first-half spurt.
The Pilots went on an 8-2 run of their own to cut the margin to 26-22 before Brown drove into the lane and hit a jumper and Walker converted a putback to push Army’s lead back to eight points. Stohl hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to send Portland into the locker room down five, 30-25.
The Black Knights owned the paint in the first half, outscoring the Pilots 16-4 in the lane. Army also held a 9-2 advantage in second-chance points during the first 20 minutes.
Army stretched its lead to six early in the second half on a free throw and bucket by Walker, but the Pilots scored the next nine points to take their largest lead of the game at 36-33 with 13:24 left. Williams scored four straight points to push the Black Knights back up by one. The two teams traded baskets on three straight possessions, and with the Pilots ahead 40-39, senior Grant Carter drilled a three from the corner to give the Black Knights a 42-40 lead. Portland tied the game at 42-42, but a 12-3 Army spurt, including two three-pointers by Brown gave the Black Knights a 54-45 advantage. Army led by as many as 10, but the Pilots did not go away. Portland scored seven of the next eight points to trim the margin to four. It appeared the lead would dissipate even further when Ito stole the ball and raced in for a layup, but Miller was able to thwart the attempt with a leaping block.
On the next possession, Brown hit his fifth and final triple of the game, a 23-footer with 55.8 seconds left to push the lead back to seven. Bates drew a charge on Portland’s next possession and Brown hit a pair of foul shots to extend the lead to eight points at 67-59 with 25 seconds left. Portland scored five of the next six points to trim the deficit to four, but Brown made two more foul shots to ice the game. The Pilots scored the game’s final points with 1.4 seconds remaining.
Army has played five straight games decided by fewer than five points, and eight of the last nine have been decided by single digits. The Black Knights are 5-2 in games decided by five points or less.
The Black Knights begin a three-game road stretch on Tuesday, Jan. 8 at Presbyterian. Army defeated the Blue Hose at Christl Arena earlier this season, 63-58. The matchup in Clinton, S.C. is the Black Knights’ final non-conference game of the season. Army opens the Patriot League portion of its schedule on Saturday, Jan. 12 at Colgate.
Game Notes: Today’s game marked Army’s final non-conference home game ... The Black Knights finished that portion of their schedule with a 4-3 record ... The Black Knights ended their five-game homestand with a 3-2 record ... Army led at the half for a season-high third straight game ... John Moonshower took Army’s first four shots, making two of them ... Brown was 5 for 8 from three-point range, while the rest of the team was 1 of 6 from deep ... For the season, Brown is now 57-108 (52.7 percent) from three, while the remainder of the squad is 21 for 94 (22.3) ... Army’s eight-rebound deficit was the first time they’d been outrebounded by more than one in a victory this season ... The Black Knights have owned the boards in five of their seven wins ... Jarell Brown has scored in double figures in 10 straight games ...Chris Walker fouled out with 1:48 left in the game ... Army is now 17-1 in its last 18 games when leading at the half ... Army boasted an assist-to-turnover ratio of better than 1.0 for the second straight game ... Entering the week, the Black Knights had accomplished that feat only once in their first 11 games ... Army’s 70 points marked the first time the Black Knights have scored at least 70 points in consecutive games since last season when they tallied 101 versus SUNY-Purchase and 92 against SUNY-Maritime ... It was the first time Army scored 70 against two straight Division I opponents since going for 72 at Colgate and 77 at Lehigh in 2001-02.