Courtesy of goARMYsports.com
WEST POINT, N.Y. – Kyle Wilson scored 23 points and the Army defense allowed a season-low 54 points to lead the Black Knights (2-6) to a 67-54 victory over St. Francis Brooklyn (5-4) in men’s basketball action at Christl Arena. Army led by as many as 21 in the second half.
The Black Knights used a 22-7 first-half run to break open a one-point game. Army’s lead never dipped below 11 points for the remainder of the contest.
Wilson led three Army players in double figures with his fourth 20-point effort of the season. Tanner Plomb scored a career-high 11 points, while Dylan Cox chipped in 10 markers. Eight of the 10 Black Knights that earned playing time scored.
Cox just missed a double-double with nine rebounds. He also added three assists and three blocked shots. Kevin Ferguson had his double-digit scoring streak stopped at four, but still provided a presence in the middle with four blocked shots and six rebounds. In just his 39th career game, Ferguson moved into fourth place on Army’s career ledger with 57 rejections. His 22 blocks in just eight games this season is already tied for fourth on the Army single-season list.
Army outrebounded St. Francis 44-36, the Black Knights first positive rebounding margin of the season. The Black Knights finished the game with a 48.2 field goal percentage, connecting on seven of their 19 three-point tries. The Army defense limited the Terriers to a 26.2 overall shooting percentage and harassed them into a 26.7 percent effort from three-point range (4-15).
The win snapped Army’s five-game overall losing streak and marked the Black Knights’ first win at home in four tries.
Both teams came out firing, scoring on the first six possessions. The Black Knights were able to develop a 9-5 lead after a basket by Wilson, but the Terriers closed the gap to 11-10. Army opened things up from there, utilizing a 22-7 run to claim a 33-17 lead with 5:05 left in the opening half.
St. Francis scored the next five points to get with in 11 at the 2:27 mark, but Wilson outscored the Terriers 8-2 to close the half, burying two three-pointers and a jumper. The Army defense did not allow a field goal during the final six minutes, one second of the opening stanza.
The Black Knights shot 54.5 percent (18-33) overall and hit five of their 12 (.417) three-point tries in the first 20 minutes. Defensively, Army limited the Terriers to 7-for-30 overall (.233) and 2-for-8 (.250) from distance. Wilson scored a game-high 14 in the first half. Mockford and Fall led St. Francis with five points each. Army held a 23-16 rebounding edge and outscored the Terriers in the paint, 18-8.
The Terriers trimmed the Army lead to 15 points at 45-30 on a three-pointer by Hagigal with 17:29 left, but the Black Knights scored 11 of the next 16 points, capped by a three-pointer by Wilson, to take a 56-35 lead with 12:37 to go. Travis Rollos scored four of his career-high six points during the spurt.
St. Francis began to whittle away at the Army lead as the Black Knights suffered a four-minute, 39-second scoring drought and a stretch of five minutes, two seconds without a field goal. The Army defense kept the lead in double figures as the Terriers would get as close as 13 points with 5:58 to go.
Rookie Tanner Omlid made two keys plays to stem momentum, hitting a layup off a backdoor cut and after a St. Francis basket, throwing a lob pass to Plomb for an easy layup to make it 65-50. That proved to be Army’s last field goal of the game. St. Francis pulled within 13 on two other occasions, including the final margin.
Army has now won three straight against the Terriers, including the last two meetings at Christl Arena.
The Black Knights are back on the road Friday, Dec. 13 at Maine. Army defeated the Black Bears at Christl Arena last season and will be making its first trip to Orono.
Game Notes: Dylan Cox made his team-leading 39th consecutive start … Army’s first four substitutions of the game were “line changes” with Matt Gramling, Josh Herbeck, Larry Toomey, Tanner Omlid and Travis Rollo entering the game … Army used a season-low 10 players … the Black Knights blocked a season-high 11 shots, their most since rejecting 12 shots versus SUNY Purchase on Dec. 16, 2006 … Army is now 22-8 in its last 30 non-conference home games … head coach Zach Spiker won his 55th game, tying him for seventh place on Army’s all-time wins list.