Final Stats: Army 54, UNH 46
WEST POINT, N.Y. – Army used a 13-0- run to turn a five-point lead into an 18-point advantage en route to a 54-46 victory over New Hampshire (4-5) on Tuesday afternoon at Christl Arena. The Black Knights (9-2) have won four straight games overall and seven in a row at West Point.
Army’s nine wins in its first 11 games marks the program’s best start since the 2006-07 squad also started 9-2.
Senior G Josh Miller led three Black Knights in double figures with 13 points and a team-high seven rebounds. Senior F Cleveland Richard added 11 points, while junior F Jeremy Hence tied his career high with 11 points as well. Hence hit all five of his shot attempts.
Tyrone Conley led the Wildcats with a game-high 17 points, including three three-pointers, while Alvin Abreu scored 12 points on four triples. Dane DiLiegro pulled down a game-high 15 rebounds to go with seven points.
The Army defense kept its third straight Division I opponent to less than 50 points. UNH shot just 31.1 percent (14-45) for the game, but made eight three-pointers (8-25). Army ended its six-game run of shooting at least 40 percent from the floor, making 39.2 percent (20-51) from the floor. Army was 1 for 10 from three-point range in the first half, but connected on 5 of 6 in the second half to help key the decisive run.
The Black Knights have now had two winning streaks of at least four games this season. It is the first time Army has had two runs of that length in the same season since the Mike Krzyzewski-led Cadets accomplished the feat in 1978-79.
Neither team was able to muster much offense in the first three minutes. Army started the game 0 for 6 from the field with two turnovers, while the Wildcats turned the ball over once and missed their first two field goal tries. Onguetou took the lid off the basket with a three-pointer to give UNH a 3-0 lead with 16:56 to go.
Army scored the next four points, but the lead changed hands twice more before a 5-0 run, including a three-pointer by Miller, gave the Black Knights an 11-7 advantage with 10:36 remaining. The Wildcats whittled away, tying the game at 17-17 with 3:42 on the first half clock on a three-pointer by Abreu. Hence put Army back on top with a fastbreak layup and Miller followed with a jumper in the paint to stake the Black Knights to a 21-17 margin with 2:28 to go. The Wildcats made one of two free throws with 1:48 left to trim the lead to three, but Simmons hit all three of his free throws after being fouled on a long-range attempt to give Army a 24-18 lead, its largest of the half. Neither team was able to score during the final 40 seconds of the half, sending the Black Knights into the locker room with a six-point lead.
Army rallied from its slow start to finish the half 10 for 25 from the field. The Wildcats hit just 23.8 percent (5-21) of their shots, including a 3 for 12 showing from beyond the arc. Simmons and Miller each scored five to lead the Black Knights, while DiLiegro paced the Wildcats with five points and nine rebounds in the first 20 minutes.
The Black Knights led by eight points with 18:22 left before Abreu stroked a three-pointer to bring the Wildcats within five points at 28-23. Miller answered right back with his own make from beyond the arc, which started the Black Knights 13-0 spurt. Simmons and Richard followed with triples of their own, and after a free throw by senior C Chris Walker, Miller drained another three to put Army on top 41-23 with 13:10 left.
The Wildcats answered with a 10-2 spurt of their own to claw back to 43-33 with 8:23 left on the clock. The two teams traded buckets before Hence hit just his second three-pointer of the season to push Army’s margin back to 13 points with 7:49 left.
UNH pulled back within 10 points, but Army was able to take two minutes, 17 seconds off the clock on its next possession. The Black Knights missed three shots, but Hence snared offensive rebounds each time. Army was also able to pick up three fouls on Conley, who eventually fouled out of the game. Richard finally converted with a pair of free throws to extend Army’s lead to 50-38 with 3:59 to go.
The Black Knights led by as many as 13, but New Hampshire scored the final five points to set the eventual margin.
The victory snapped Army’s three-game losing streak to the Wildcats
Army will take a week off for the holiday before embarking on a two-game, cross country road trip. The Black Knights play at SMU on Wednesday, Dec. 30 before traveling to Portland to take on the Pilots in their 2010 debut on Jan. 2.
Game Notes: Tyrell Thompson was back in action after missing six straight games with an ankle injury … Julian Simmons recorded his first assist of the season, finding a cutting Jeremy Hence for a layup in the first half … Army has won 12 straight games when keeping opponents under 60 points … the Black Knights are 13-5 since Feb. 14 of last season … Zach Spiker is the first Army coach to win nine of his first 11 games on the Black Knights’ sideline since Tates Locke started 10-2 in 1963-64 … Army’s eight wins against Division I non-conference competition matches an Academy record set in 2006-07 … the Black Knights entered the game ranked 11th in the nation in scoring defense and 20th in the country in field goal percentage defense … Army is 18-10 in the last two seasons when Cleveland Richard scores in double figures … the Black Knights outrebounded their seventh opponent of the season after holding the rebounding edge just five times in 30 games in 2008-09 … the Black Knights have kept its opponent to 61 points or less in 15 of its last 17 games … Army has won all seven games in which it has been ahead at the half this season.