Final Statistics: Army 67, Holy Cross 64
WORCESTER, Mass. – Cleveland Richard blocked Holy Cross’ last-second three-point attempt to preserve Army’s 67-64 win in Patriot League men’s basketball action at the Hart Center on Wednesday night. The Black Knights improved to 11-5 overall, their best start since the 1978-79 season, and picked up their first league victory of the season (1-1).
Army led for the majority of the contest, but Holy Cross took a 62-59 lead on layup by Devin Brown with 5:41 left in the contest. Senior G Josh Miller scored four straight points to put the Black Knights back on top 63-62 with 3:28 left. The lead changed hands twice more with senior F Eric Zastoupil put Army ahead for good with a jumper in the lane with 2:33 to go. Richard put Army on top 67-64 with 1:51 left, and neither team would score for the rest of the contest. Richard rejected Andrew Beinert’s last shot attempt and chased down the rebound to preserve the win.
The victory was Army’s first of the season when allowing more than 60 points.
Miller led all scorers with a season-high 22 points. He also dished out five assists and made two steals in 35 minutes. Sophomore G Julian Simmons went for 17 points, including four three-pinters, while Richard rounded out Army’s top scorers with 14 points. He also grabbed a team-high seven rebounds and handed out six assists.
Holy Cross had four players in double figures led by Andrew Keister’s 17 points. The Crusaders’ center finished the double-double with 18 rebounds, including six on the offensive end. Brown scored 13 off the bench, while Mike Cavataio and Beinert had 11 and 10 markers, respectively.
The Black Knights outshot the Crusaders 44.3 percent (27-61) to 41.7 percent (20-48) and knocked down eight three-pointers, four each by Simmons and Miller. Army needed the hot shooting to overcome a 37-28 rebounding deficit and a 19-5 differential from the free throw line (5-6/19-14).
The Black Knights committed just 10 turnovers and converted 17 Holy Cross miscues into 15 points.
Army opened the game with eight of the first 10 points, and led 11-4 after Simmons’ second three-pointer of the half with 16:59 to go. The Crusaders scored the next six points, all by Brown on a three-pointer and an old-fashioned three-point play, to get within one point at 11-10 with 16:08 left in the first half.
The Black Knights were able to stretch their lead back to six points at 20-14, but the Crusaders again answered with a 5-0 run to make the score 20-19 with 9:37 left on the first-half clock. The Black Knights countered with a 6-0 run capped by Richard’s jumper in the lane to reclaim a seven –point margin at 26-19 with 7:30 left .
Holy Cross whittled away the lead, ending the half on a 13-6 run. Beinert’s three-pointer with 11 seconds left tied the game at 32-32, and neither team scored for the rest of the half.
After a hot start, Army shot 40.0 percent for the half (14-35) and just 30.8 percent from deep (4-13). The Crusaders hit 45.8 percent of their attempts in the first half (11-24) and were 4 of 8 from long range. Holy Cross held a slim 17-16 rebounding edge, but the Black Knights had nine offensive rebounds.
Miller led all scorers with 10 points in the first 20 minutes. Richard, Walker and Simmons each had six for the Black Knights. Brown paced the Crusaders with nine points, while Keister nearly had a double-double in the first half with eight points and seven rebounds.
With the score tied 36-36, Army went on a 5-0 spurt that included a three-pointer by Miller with 16:09 left. Keister nearly erased the deficit single-handedly with a four-point possession. After converting a layup while getting fouled, he rebounded his own missed free throw and put it in to cut the Army advantage to 41-40 with 15:22 left.
Miller stroked another triple to push the Army lead back to four and start a 10-3 run that reestablished a seven-point margin at 51-44 with 11:46 left. After Holy Cross got back to within three points, Simmons drilled a three to put Army on top 54-48 with 11:09 on the second-half clock.
The Crusaders took control for the next seven minutes, outscoring the Black Knights 14-5. They took their first lead of the game at 61-60 on a pair of free throws by Beinert. Brown’s basket gave them a three-point lead with 5:41 left, setting up the frantic finish.
The victory at the Hart Center marked only the fourth time in 34 games that the Black Knights defeated the Crusaders in Worcerster.
The Black Knights open a two-game homestand on Sunday, Jan. 17 when they host the Lehigh Mountain Hawks. Tip-off at Christl Arena is set for 2 p.m. The game has been designated Father-Child Day. Any father who purchases a full-price ticket will receive free admission for a child.
Game Notes: Jeremy Hence made his first career start … Marcus Nelson had his 48-game starting streak stopped due to an ankle injury suffered in practice … Nelson had played in 106 straight games without missing a contest during his West Point career … Army had used the same starting lineup in each of the previous nine games, the longest such streak since the 2001-02 season … Army is 1-1 in the league for only the second time in the last eight seasons (2006-07) … the victory stopped a three-game winning streak for the Crusaders in the series … Holy Cross has won 16 of the last 18 meetings … Army has won 11 games in four straight seasons for the first time since Mike Krzyzewski’s first four seasons at West Point (1975-76 through 1978-79) … Army won its fourth road game of the season to equal last season’s total … the win snapped Army’s three-game road losing streak … the win snapped a six-game losing streak when allowing more than 60 points … Army is 6-1 when Josh Mille limits his turnovers to three or less … Army has had a 20-point scorer in each of the first two Patriot League games after having just one in 14 non-league games … the Black Knights held the Crusaders to only five field goals in the last 14 minutes … Army is 10-3 since the start of last season when shooting at least 40 percent from three-point range.