Final Stats: Army 61, FDU 40
HACKENSACK, N.J. – Army scored the first 14 points and led by double digits for the remainder of the game, earning a 61-40 road win at Fairleigh Dickinson on Monday night. The Black Knights improved to 6-2 on the season, while the Knights fell to 1-8.
Army head coach Zach Spiker became the first Black Knights’ mentor to start their Army career with six wins in eight games since Tates Locke started 6-1 in 1963-64.
Sophomore G Julian Simmons followed up his career-high 30-point effort at Buffalo with a game-high 17 points, including five three-pointers, in only 19 minutes. Senior F Cleveland Richard was the only other Army player in double figures with 12 points. Richard also contributed five rebounds and five assists.
Junior F Jeremy Hence pulled down a game-high six rebounds, while senior G Josh Miller tallied four points, five rebounds, eight assists and three steals. Senior G Marcus Nelson also aided the defensive effort with two steals and two blocked shots. Junior G Nathan Hedgecock scored nine points, hitting all three of his three-point attempts.
The Army defense did not allow an FDU player to reach double figures. Louis Larizza and Kamil Svrdlik led the Knights with eight points each. Nelson, Hence and freshman F Ella Ellis were among the Army defenders that held FDU’s leading scorer, Sean Batpiste to only six points in 38 minutes. Baptiste had averaged 22.3 points in the previous four games.
Army shot 51.2 percent for the game, including a season-high 9 for 18 from three-point range. Fairleigh Dickinson shot just 29.8 percent overall and 25.0 percent from behind the arc. The Black Knights committed 21 turnovers, but turned the Knights over 18 times that led to 21 points.
FDU’s 40 points marked the fewest the Black Knights have allowed versus a Division I team since a 53-39 win at Holy Cross on Jan. 16, 2008. Army has held its opponents to less than 60 points in all six of its victories this season.
The Black Knights scored the first 14 points, holding Fairleigh Dickinson scoreless for the first six minutes, 25 seconds. Baptiste finally got the Knights on the board with a jumper, ending FDU’s 0-for-6 start from the floor. Army made its first five shots during the spurt, including two three-pointers by Simmons.
After Army’s initial run, the Knights scored 11 of the next 18 points to trim the Black Knights’ advantage to 21-11 with 3:45 to go. Marcus Nelson hit a driving layup to stop a four-minute, 17-second Army scoring drought and start an 8-0 run that included back-to-back three-pointers by Simmons and Hedgecock.
FDU responded with five straight points to make it 29-16 with 39 seconds left in the half, but Hedgecock drilled his second three of the half with just eight seconds left to put Army back on top by 16 points. The Knights’ last-second shot was off the mark and Army took its 32-16 advantage into the locker room.
Army shot 56.5 percent (13-23) in the first half, including a 6-of-10 mark from long range. The Black Knights’ defense limited Fairleigh Dickinson to just 27.3 percent (6-22) and forced nine turnovers. Simmons led all players with 11 points, including three triples in six tries, in 12 first-half minutes. Mulumba paced the Knights with four points.
The second half started much the same way as the first with the Black Knights scoring nine of the first 12 points to take a 41-19 lead on Hedgecock’s third triple of the game. The Army defense held the Knights without a field goal for the first five minutes, 16 seconds of the half. FDU scored the next five points to trim the lead to 41-24, but Army was able to reclaim a 19-point lead at 45-26 on a layup by Nelson.
FDU trimmed the lead to 49-33 with 8:29 to go, but Simmons stuck his fifth three-pointer to re-establish a 19-point advantage. Army matched its biggest lead of the game at 56-35 with 3:32 to go and led by no less than 18 the remainder of the game, before claiming the 21-point victory.
Army wraps ups its three-game road trip on Saturday, Dec. 12 at Dartmouth. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. Army is 3-0 this season against the Ivy League and swept a home-and-home series with the Big Green last season.
Game Notes: Nathan Hedgecock hit his first two three-pointers of the season in the first half … Army entered the game averaging just over five three-pointers per game, but made six in the first half alone … Chris Walker missed his first free throw of the season after eight straight makes … Rookie Jordan Springer scored his first career points in the second half … C.J. McElrath made his collegiate debut, playing the final 29.3 seconds … Army has won nine straight when limiting opponents to less than 60 points … the Black Knights are now 3-0 versus the Northeast Conference this season … the win snapped a three-game losing streak in December … Army is 16-7 in its last 23 games when shooting at least 50.0 percent … the Black Knights held a 34-24 rebounding edge … Army is now 17-5 in its last 22 games when holding the advantage on the boards and 10-2 since 2006-07 when outrebounding its opponent by double figures … Tyrell Thompson missed his fourth straight game.