American 58, Army 54
WASHINGTON, D.C. American snapped Army’s three-game winning streak with a 58-34 victory over the Black Knights at Bender Arena on Wednesday night. The Black Knights’ were held to a season-low point total, shooting just 31.8 percent for the game.
Junior F Cleveland Richard led the Black Knights (7-14, 3-4) with nine points and four rebounds, snapping a string of four straight double-digit scoring games for the Houston native. Junior G Jon Sizemore scored six points off the bench.
It was the fourth time this season, and first since a 47-36 loss to Holy Cross on Jan. 14, that Army did not have a player reach double figures. Army’s 34 points were the fewest in a game since a 75-25 loss to Bucknell during the 2003-04 season.
Nick Hendra led the Eagles (14-7, 6-1) with 14 points on 6 of 11 shooting, including a pair of three-pointers. Derrick Mercer added 13 points and a game-high eight rebounds and five assists. The Black Knights held American’s leading scorer Garrison Carr to eight points, 10 below his season average.
The Eagles held a 38-19 rebounding edge, including a 10-3 advantage on the offensive glass. American hit 48.0 percent of its shots (24-50) for the game.
The game featured only15 combined turnovers and 22 fouls. Neither team reached the bonus in either half, shooting a total of only 11 free throws.
Army jumped out to a quick 5-2 lead, but the Eagles responded with a 9-0 run led by six points from Brian Gilmore. Richard’s leaner off the glass as the shot clock expired, pulled the Black Knights back within four points at 11-7 and ended a three-minute, 29-second scoring drought.
The Eagles scored the next six points to claim their first double-digit advantage of the half at 17-7 with 10:21 left in the half. Sizemore hit a jumper to get Army back within eight points, but another 10-4 American spurt pushed the Eagles lead to 27-13 with 4:09 left.
Army scored the next four points to get back within 10, but back-to-back buckets by Hendra re-established American’s 14-point advantage at 31-17 with 1:26 left. Neither team scored for the rest of the half, sending Army into the locker room at a disadvantage for the first time in four games.
Richard paced the Army offense in the first half with seven points. The Black Knights shot just 36.4 percent (8-22) in the first half, and were outrebounded 20-6 in the first 20 minutes. Despite a 1 for 5 showing from Carr, the Eagles shot 53.8 percent in the first 20 minutes led by Mercer’s eight points, including two three-pointers.
American picked up where it left off in the second half, starting the second stanza on a 12-2 run. A Mercer breakaway staked the Eagles to a 43-19 lead with 13:48. Army’s only basket of the spurt was a layup by Nelson.
The Eagles extended their lead to 25 points at 48-23 before junior C Chris Walker hit a basket to end a seven-minute, 13-second span without an Army field goal. Hendra hit his first three-pointer of the half to push the American lead to 51-25. The Eagles would keep their lead at least 23 points before going on to the 24-point win.
American has now won 11 straight games versus Patriot League teams at Bender Arena. The Black Knights have lost nine straight on the road versus the Eagles.
Army continues its three-game road trip on Saturday when it takes on Colgate in Hamilton, N.Y. The Raiders won the first meeting of the season, 64-42, at Christl Arena.
Game Notes: Army’s 19-rebound deficit was its largest of the season. The Black Knights have now been outrebounded in 11 straight games ... Army has now lost 10 in a row when not reaching the 50-point mark ... The Eagles have now won five straight in the series ... The Black Knights were denied their first-ever four-game Patriot League winning streak ... Army is 2-8 on the road this season with five of its last seven games left to be played away from West Point ... Wednesday’s game was originally slated for Jan. 21, but was rescheduled due to the inauguration held on Jan. 20.