Tigers Topple Army, 55-43

Princeton 55, Army 43

WEST POINT, N.Y. Princeton outscored Army 30-17 in the second half to turn a one-point halftime deficit into a 55-43 victory at Christl Arena on Sunday afternoon. The Black Knights’ led 26-25 at intermission, but made just 6 of 25 shots after halftime.

The victory was the Tigers first of the season (1-2), while the Black Knights have now lost three straight (1-3).

Sophomore G Nathan Hedgecock led the Black Knights with nine points, all in the first half. It marked the first time since the 2007-08 season opener at Minnesota that Army did not have at least one player score at least 10 points. Junior G Marcus Nelson had eight points and a team-high six rebounds. It was the third time in four games the 5-11 guard was Army’s top rebounder.

The 43 points marked Army’s lowest offensive output since 49-40 loss at American on Feb. 20, 2008.

Princeton’s Doug Davis led all scorers with 19 points on 8 of 11 shooting. He was the only player in the game to reach double figures. Patrick Saunders and Kareem Maddox tied for team honors with five rebounds, and Maddox dished out a game-high four assists.

While the Black Knights struggled from the floor in the second half, the Tigers hit 47.6 percent from the field (10-21) in the second 20 minutes. Princeton did most of its damage in the first half from the perimeter, hitting five of 11 three-point attempts, but in the second half, the Tigers went inside with 14 of their 30 points coming in the paint.

The Tigers came out hot from downtown, knocking down their first two three-point attempts of the game to take a 6-3 lead. Hedgecock then scored five straight points, including his first triple, to give Army its first lead at 8-6 with 16:05 left in the half.

Princeton stemmed the momentum and went on a 4-0 run of its own to re-take the lead. Rickey Royal knotted the game at 10-10 with a 17-footer with 13:34 to go. Both offenses were scoreless until Nick Lake hit the Tigers’ third three of the game with 10:14 left in the half to push the Tigers back in front, 13-10. A pair of free throws by senior C Doug Williams ended Army’s four-minute, 53-second drought, but Davis hit yet another three for the Tigers to extend the lead to 16-12.

Hedgecock was true from long range to trim the deficit to one with 8:16 left, and Royal gave Army a 17-16 lead with 7:21 left on a pair of foul shots. The Black Knights extended their lead on a fastbreak layup by Nelson, but Marcus Schroeder tied the game at 19-19 with another three-pointer. The teams exchanged field goals before Army scored four straight on a jumper by junior F Cleveland Richard and two free throws by junior G Josh Miller to take its largest lead of the half at 25-21 with 2:55 left. A pair of free throws trimmed the Army advantage to two, and Schroeder hit a driving basket for the seventh tie of the half with 1:28 left.

Hedgecock gave the Black Knights a one-point lead with one of two foul shots with 1:16 left to go. Neither team scored for the remainder of the half as Army took a 26-25 lead into the locker room.

Army shot 47.1 percent in the first half, but turned the ball over 11 times that led to eight Princeton points. The Tigers shot 42.9 percent overall, but were 5 of 11 (45.5 percent) from three-point range in the first 20 minutes. 

Hedgecock led the Black Knights with nine points, while Davis scored a game-high 10 first-half points.

Davis scored the opening points of the second half to ignite the Tigers’ decisive scoring run. Army missed its first five shots of the half before Richard’s floater in the lane broke a nearly four-minute scoring drought to start the second stanza. Army then went from the 12:35 mark to the 2:18 point of the second half without a field goal, a span of 10 minutes and 17 seconds. Army missed all five of its shot attempts during that time.

Free throws by Nelson and freshman G Julian Simmons trimmed the lead to 42-33 with 6:35 to go, but a three-point play by Zach Finley put the Tigers back in front by double digits with 6:14 left. Davis made a steal and went coast-to-coast to give the Tigers a l4-point lead, and followed with another basket to give Princeton its largest lead of the game at 51-35 with 2:40 to go.

Army scored the next four points to cut the lead to 12, but could draw no closer, suffering its largest margin of defeat this season.

The loss snapped Army’s three-game winning streak at Christl Arena.

The Black Knights continue their swing through the Ivy League when they travel to Brown on Wednesday, Nov. 26. Army will also take on Harvard in Cambridge, Mass., on Saturday, Nov. 29.

Game Notes: Sunday’s game was the first meeting between Army and Princeton since Dec. 29. 1979 at the Rainbow Classic in Hawai’i ... Entering the game, Army had made just 15 free throws through three games. The Black Knights were 8 of 9 from the line in the first half and finished the game 13 of 15 ... Tyrell Thompson and Doug Williams made their first starts of the season. It was Thompson’s first career start, while Williams started for the 37th time ... The Black Knights have not used the same starting lineup for more than three consecutive games since the start of last season ... Army opponents are now 22 for 45 from three-point range in the last two games ... Cleveland Richard had his streak of double-digit scoring games stopped at three (six points) ... Army is now 10-4 since the start of last season when leading at the half ... Army entered the game outscoring opponents 29-9 in the first five minutes of the second half of the first three games, but Princeton held a 9-2 advantage in that span on Sunday ... Army is now 1-1 versus the Ivy League this season ... Rickey Royal scored a career-high four points, all in the first half.

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