Shooting Woes Plague Army In Loss To Holy Cross

Final Statistics: Holy Cross 70, Army 56

WEST POINT, N.Y. – Holy Cross (7-17, 4-5 Patriot League) outscored Army (13-10, 3-6 Patriot League) 31-15 over the first 15 minutes, 43 seconds of the second half  to break open a five-point game and go on to a 70-56 win in Wednesday night’s Patriot League men’s basketball game at Christl Arena.

Army made just one of its first 10 shots in the second half, going eight minutes, 22 seconds without a field goal. The Black Knights hit just 28.1 percent in the second stanza despite making four three-point attempts in the last two and one-half minutes.

The Black Knights had their second-worst shooting game of the season at 32.2 percent, the second time in three games the Black Knights shot less than 33 percent. Army has now lost 13 straight games when shooting under 33.3 percent from the field.

Senior F Cleveland Richard was the only player in double figures with 15 points. Richard was 4 for 15 from the floor, but hit three of his five three-point tries. Senior G Tyrell Thompson added nine points on a career-best three three-pointers. Senior F Jon Sizemore tied his career high with eight points, including his first career triple. Senior G Marcus Nelson added eight points, three rebounds, three assists, two blocked shots and two steals in 25 minutes.

Holy Cross had four starters in double figures led by 15 points from Mike Cavataio. Eric Meister just missed a triple-double with 10 points, nine rebounds and a Crusader record nine blocked shots. R.J. Evans and Andrew Beinert contributed 14 and 13 points, respectively.

The Crusaders ended the game at 55.3 percent from the field, including 50.0 percent from long range (7-14). The Crusaders hot shooting overcame 21 turnovers. Holy Cross also owned a 37-28 rebounding edge.

Despite a 2 for 7 start from the floor, the Black Knights trailed by just one at 8-7 with 15:10 left in the opening stanza. Meister scored for the Crusaders to push their lead to three and start a 9-1 lead that gave them a 17-8 cushion with 12:07 to go. Richard ended a three-minute, 13-second stretch without a field goal by hitting a triple to pull the Black Knights within six, but the Crusaders answered with a three by Brown to re-establish their nine-point lead.

Army scored six of the next seven points on three-pointers by Richard and Tyrell Thompson to cut the deficit to 21-17 with 9:08 left, but Cavataio went to work scoring the Crusaders’ next five points and assisting on a three-pointer during an 11-4 run to push the Holy Cross advantage to 32-21 with 3:51 on the first-half clock.

The Black Knights ended the half on a 6-0 run, holding Holy Cross without a point for the final three minutes, 51 seconds. Nelson punctuated the run with a fastbreak slam dunk at the buzzer to send Army into the locker room down 32-27.

The Crusaders shot 52.2 percent overall and 55.6 percent (5-9) from three-point range in the first 20 minutes. Cavataio led all scorers with 10 points, including 2 for 2 from long range. He had made just three three-pointers all season entering Wednesday’s game. Richard led the Black Knights with eight points.

Holy Cross opened up the game in the second half, starting the period on a 14-4 spurt to take a 46-31 lead with 11:36 to go. Cavataio capped the run with an old-fashioned three-point play. Richard made a pair of free throws to stop a four-minute, 59-second scoring drought, but the Crusaders answered with a layup to keep their advantage at 15 points with 9:57 to go.

Army scored the next four points to make it a 50-39 game with 8:06, but would come no closer. The Crusaders reeled off five straight points to regain momentum and take a 55-39 with just left than six minutes to go. A three-point play by Sizemore got the Black Knights back within 13, but Holy Cross again stemmed the tide with eight straight points to take its largest lead at 63-42 with 2:39 to go. Richard ended the spurt with Army’s first three-pointer of the second half with 2:23 remaining.

The basket started a 14-4 Army run that included four three-pointers, including two by Thompson, that pulled the Black Knights within 11 points at 67-56 with 53 seconds left. The Crusaders hit three of their four free throw attempts to close out the scoring.

The loss ended Army’s hope of sweeping the regular-season series from Holy Cross for the first time since the teams began facing each other twice a season as members of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference during the 1983-84 season.

The Black Knights embark on a two-game road trip when they travel to league-leading Lehigh on Saturday, Feb. 13. Tip-off at Stabler Arena is set for 7 p.m. The Mountain Hawks scored a 73-55 win at Christl Arena on Jan. 17.

Game Notes:  Holy Cross has now won eight straight games at Christl Arena … Tyrell Thompson made his first three-pointer since Nov. 17 against LIU … the Black Knights have lost five straight games when attempting at least 20 three-pointers … Army is 1-9 this season when allowing more than 60 points and 0-6 when giving up 70 or more … Army is now 0-5 when only one player reaches double figures this season … Josh Miller went 0 for 4 from three-point range and has made only one of his last 17 shots from behind the arc … Marcus Nelson blocked two shots to move within one of tying the Academy record … Cleveland Richard has made 11 of his last 25 three-point tries (.440) … Army has yet to win back-to-back league games this season.

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