Final Statistics: Lafayette 80, Army 54
Army Postgame Quotes
WEST POINT, N.Y. – Lafayette (17-11, 8-5 Patriot League) drilled 14 three-pointers and shot 52.3 percent overall en route to an 80-56 victory over Army (14-13, 4-9 Patriot League) in Wednesday night’s Patriot League men’s basketball game at Christl Arena. The Leopards’ Jim Mower made eight triples on his way to a game-high 26 points.
Lafayette’s hot hand from three-point range was a continuation of its previous game. The Leopards made 16 of 29 three-pointers in their 15-point win over Lehigh last Saturday.
Senior G Tyrell Thompson led the Black Knights with a career-high 18 points on 8-of-13 shooting. Senior F Cleveland Richard scored 10 points, his career-best eight straight game in double figures. Thompson and senior G Marcus Nelson led the Black Knights with five rebounds each.
Richard made two steals on the defensive end to pass teammate Josh Miller for first place on the Army career ledger with 148.
Ryan Willen was the other Lafayette player in double figures with 15 points, 11 of which came in the first half. Jared Mintz pulled down a game-high eight rebounds.
Army shot 38.8 percent for the game, including just 27.8 percent from three-point range. The Black Knights made just one triple in 10 tries in the second half. The Leopards outrebounded the Black Knights, 32-27, and assisted on 17 of their 23 field goals.
Army led 20-19 through the first nine minutes, but the Leopards went on a 20-3 run to take control of the contest and cruise to the 26-point victory.
The loss, coupled with the rest of Wednesday night’s Patriot League results, relegated Army to either the 7th or 8th spot in the upcoming conference tournament.
Both teams came out hot. Army made five of its first seven shots, including two three-pointers to take a 12-9 lead after back-to-back baskets by Thompson. The Leopards hit four of their first five opportunities, including one triple. The Black Knights led 14-11 when Mintz stroked a three-pointer to tie the game with 13:11 left in the opening period.
Army led 20-19 after a free throw by senior G Marcus Nelson with 11:12 left, but the Leopards went on their decisive run to take a 39-23 lead with less than six minutes to play. Mower scored 11 points, including three three-pointers, during the run, while the Black Knights hit just one of its nine shots, including seven straight misses. Senior G Josh Miller ended a three-minute, 43-second scoring drought with a leaner in the lane to pull the Black Knights within 39-25 with 5:23 remaining.
Miller scored again to cut the Army deficit to 12 points. The teams exchanged free throws before the Leopards scored on the final possession of the half to open up a 42-28 lead heading into intermission.
The Leopards shot 56.5 percent overall and despite missing their last four three-point attempts, hit seven of their 10 shots from behind the arc. After Army’s strong start, the Black Knights finished the half at 40.7 percent, missing 14 of its final 20 attempts. Mower scored 14 first-half points, including four three-pointers. Willen added 11, including the final basket of the half. Thompson led the Black Knights with nine points in the first 20 minutes.
Lafayette picked up where it left off, outscoring the Black Knights 11-4 during the first six minutes of the second half. Mower’s second triple of the half gave the Leopards a 53-32 cushion with 13:58 left. The Black Knights started the half 2-for-9 from the field, including 0 for 4 from three-point range.
Army scored the next six points to pull within 15, but Ben Wheeler stopped the momentum with a three-pointer to push the Leopards’ advantage back to 56-38 with 12:20 on the clock. The basket started a 12-0 run that increased their lead to 65-38 with 9:59 left. A pair of free throws by Richard ended Army’s three-minute, 22-second scoring drought.
The Leopards were able to keep their lead between 23 and 27 points for the remainder of the game, taking the 26-point win and handing Army its largest loss of the season.
The Black Knights are now 1-13 this season when allowing more than 60 points, including an 0-8 mark when opponents score at least 70 points. Army has lost 19 straight when giving up at least 80 points.
Army ends the regular season on Saturday, Feb. 27 when it hosts Bucknell. Tip-off is set for 4 p.m. at Christl Arena. The Bison won the first meeting this season, 55-48 in Lewisburg.
Game Notes: Army wore the specialty uniforms that it debuted in the win over Navy … Army has now lost 11 of its last 12 games immediately following a win over arch-rival Navy … the loss snapped Army’s three-game home winning streak against the Leopards … Lafayette swept the season series for the first time since 2005-06 … the Black Knights last win when giving up at least 80 points was a 93-92 overtime win at Brown during the 2001-02 season … Army can still clinch its first winning season since 1984-85 with a victory in the regular-season finale on Saturday … Army dropped to 5-10 when committing at least 15 turnovers … Josh Miller scored six points, his highest-scoring game since going for six in the win over Colgate on Feb. 7 … Mitch McDonald committed seven turnovers, surpassing his total of five in the previous three games … Julian Simmons was held scoreless for the second time in three games.