ITHACA, N.Y. The Army men’s basketball team had its highest offensive output of the season, but it was not enough in a 93-78 loss to the Cornell Big Red on Tuesday night at Newman Arena. Senior G Jarell Brown led the Black Knights with 30 points, tying his career high.
Brown scored 19 of his points in the second half, hitting 5 of 7 shots, including two of his three attempts from behind the arc after halftime. He finished the game 9 of 14 from the field, including 5 of 7 from deep. Brown also hit 7 of 8 foul shots. Sophomore G Josh Miller posted the exact same stat line of 14 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists for the second straight game, tying his career best in each category.
The loss was the Black Knights second straight and dropped their season record to 1-3.
Cornell (2-1) entered Tuesday’s contest averaging 88.0 points as a team and boasted five players with double-figure scoring averages. The Big Red put five players in double figures Tuesday night led by Brian Kreefer’s 21 points. Louis Dale added 17 points, while Ryan Wittman and Collin Robinson each had 16. Adam Gore chipped in 10 points. Wittman also tallied a team-best seven rebounds, while Dale handed out a game-high seven assists.
The Big Red held a decisive advantage on the foul line, outscoring Army 31-11 from the charity stripe. Both teams shot 50 percent from the field.
“Cornell can really fly and they have great shooters,” head coach Jim Crews said. “The fouls really got us. They were in the bonus very quickly because of their penetration.”
Army led in the second half, 54-53, with 11:50 left, but the Big Red outscored the Black Knights 40-24 for the remainder of the game.
Due to the foul trouble, the Black Knights used 15 of the 16 players that made the trip to Ithaca, including rookies Nathan Hedgecock and Mitch McDonald who were both in uniform for the first time this season. Hedgecock saw 10 minutes of action in his collegiate debut, while McDonald was on the floor for nine minutes.
“I’m really proud of our guys,” Crews said. “We played threw a lot of adversity. Doug (Williams) is out and Chris (Walker) went out early so we had to use some guys who haven’t played a lot and some guys that haven’t played at all.”
A see-saw first half opened with Army jumping out to a 9-2 lead after a three-pointer by Brown at the 17:06 mark. The Big Red came right back with a triple by Gore to make it 9-5. Another Cornell three-pointer cut the margin to 11-8, but sophomore G Tyrell Thompson pushed the Black Knights lead back to five points with a putback of his own miss. The Big Red cut the lead to three at 13-10, but Army scored seven of the next 10 points, including five by Brown, to take a 20-13 lead with 10:59 to go in the half.
An old-fashioned three-point play by Kreefer brought the Big Red back to within four points. Cornell had a chance to cut the lead to two, but Alex Tyler missed a dunk. Miller grabbed the rebound for Army and went coast-to-coast to make the score 22-16. Tyler hit a pair of free throws with 9:38 left in the half to ignite a 9-0 Big Red run. Gore’s three-pointer at the 8:21 mark gave Cornell its first lead of the contest at 25-22, but Miller knocked down a three to end the run and tie the score. Kreefer came right back with a three to return the lead to Cornell. Army scored the next five points, including three by Miller to regain the advantage at 30-28. Cornell tied the game at 30-30 with a pair of free throws, but Miller scored four straight to give Army a four-point advantage. The Big Red scored the final seven points of the half to take a 40-37 lead into the locker room. Wittman’s three with 16 seconds left provided the go-ahead points.
Army had two players in double figures at the break led by Brown’s 11. Miller scored 10 markers in 18 first-half minutes.
Brown opened the scoring in the second half with a three-pointer to tie the score at 40-40 with 19:23 left. The Black Knights led 44-43, but the Big Red responded with six straight points to take a 49-44 lead. Army went on a 10-4 run, regaining the lead at 54-53 on a pair of free throws by Thompson with 11:50 left. Again the Big Red fought back with a 7-0 run that included a four-point play by Dale to take a 60-54 lead with 11:09 left. Junior F Kenny Brewer ended the spurt and narrowed the deficit to three points with a three-point play, but Cornell scored 12 of the next 13 points to take a 71-58 lead with 7:25 remaining. Sophomore G Marcus Nelson hit a three-pointer to end a nearly four-minute stretch without a field goal for the Black Knights. Cornell pushed the lead back to 12, but Miller got Army back within 10 points at 73-63 with 6:20 left. Cornell did not let the Black Knights any closer for the remainder of the contest, leading by as many as 15.
The loss was the ninth straight for the Black Knights against Cornell.
Army returns home for the first of two meetings this season with the Presbyterian Blue Hose. Tip-off at Christl Arena is scheduled for 1 p.m.
Game Notes: Seniors Jarell Brown, Ryan Hodgson and Grant Carter served as the Black Knights’ game captains ... Junior F John Moonshower made his first career start ... Freshman G Jeremy Hence scored his first career points with a basket in the first half ... Freshman G Nathan Hedgecock scored his first career basket with 12:32 left in the second half ... Freshman G Mitch McDonald scored his first career points with a layup at the 4:04 mark of the second half, finishing with four points ... Army played without sophomore F Chris Walker for most of the game after getting hit in the nose ... After being held to a season-low four points against LIU, Brown responded with 11 first-half points ... Brown has not been held below double figures in consecutive games since the last two games of the 2004-05 season ... Brown has scored 20-or-more points 18 times in his career ... Brown's 30 points marked the fourth-highest scoring game by an opponent at Newman Arena ... Army committed a 31 fouls in a game that featured 47 total fouls.