Courtesy of goARMYsports.com
BALTIMORE, Md. – Kyle Wilson scored 25 points, including 14 in the last 5:15, to lead the Army men’s basketball team (11-10, 7-3 PL) to a 77-71 win at Loyola (9-12, 4-6 PL) Saturday afternoon. It was Wilson’s third straight 20-point effort and sixth in the Black Knights’ 10 Patriot League games.
In a back-and-forth contest that featured six ties and six lead changes, Army trailed by as many as seven points in the second half. The Black Knights fought back to tie the game at 49-49 with 11:03 to go, but Loyola scored the next four points. Army scored 18 of the next 20 points to claim the largest lead by either team at 71-59 with 1:47 on the clock. The Greyhounds then used an 11-1 run during the next 90 seconds to make it a two-point game with less than 20 seconds to go. Wilson buried two free throws to make it a two-possession game, and after a Loyola miss, knocked down two more to put Army back on top by six. The teams exchanged free throws in the final seconds to set the final margin.
Army shot 81.8 percent (27-33) from the free throw line, including a 20-for-25 showing in the second half, to overcome an overall field goal percentage of just 37.3 percent. Army was 6-for-20 (.300) from behind the three-point line.
Wilson was 7-for-13 from the field, made two three-pointers and hit nine of his 10 free throws. One of the top 10 free throw shooters in the league, Wilson made his last five attempts, including four straight in the final 18 seconds.
Kevin Ferguson was the only other Black Knight in double figures with 15 points. He grabbed a team-high seven rebounds and blocked five shots. Army’s all-time leader has 11 rejections in the last two games.
Jarred Jones led Loyola with 17 points. Dylon Cormier, the Patriot League’s leading scorer, tallied 14 points and a game-high eight rebounds before leaving the game with an injury at the 10:22 mark. R.J. Williams was also in double figures with 10 points. He handed out a game-high nine assists.
Loyola shot 40.0 percent for the game, but was just 11-for-23 (.478) at the free throw line. Army outrebounded the Greyhounds, 45-41. Loyola had 19 offensive rebounds to the Black Knights’ 18, but Army held a 15-8 advantage in second-chance points.
The Black Knights scored the first six points of the game, holding the Greyhounds scoreless for the first three minutes, 57 seconds. Loyola answered with six straight of their own to start a 12-3 run that put the Greyhounds on top 12-9. Army trailed by four points, but a 5-0 spurt that included a three-pointer by Herbeck gave Army back the lead at 16-15 with 10:15 remaining.
The lead switched hands three more times before a three-pointer by Rossman put the Greyhounds on top 20-18 with9:12 left on the clock. The basket started a 12-4 spurt that gave Loyola its largest lead of the half at 29-22 with 4:17remaining in the opening period.
Army answered with a 9-2 run to tie the game at 31-31 when Ferguson scored with 1:31 remaining. The Greyhounds quickly answered with five straight points, but Matt Gramling’s putback at the buzzer sent the Black Knights into the locker room down 36-33.
Army shot 34.3 percent (12-35) in the first 20 minutes, including just two three-pointers in 13 tries (.154). Loyola was 15-for-33 overall (.) and 3-for-8 from distance (.375). Cormier led all players with 12 points in the first half, while Ferguson paced the Black Knights with eight.
Loyola extended their lead to 44-37 on a pair of free throws by Cormier with 17:05 left. Army went on a 9-2 run, capped by a Wilson three-pointer, that tied the game at 46-46, but a three-point play by Jones quickly returned the lead back to the Greyhounds. A free throw by Cox and basket by Wilson tied the game again with 11:03 to go.
Cormier went down with an injury after a loose ball with 10:22 left. The Greyhounds rallied to score six of the next eight points to take a four-point lead, but a three-pointer by Tanner Plomb from the left corner cut the Black Knights’ deficit to one point and jumpstart Army’s decisive 18-2 run. Ferguson gave Army the lead for good with two free throws at the 5:56 mark. It was the Black Knights first lead since being up 18-17.
Two free throws by Wilson stretched Army’s lead to 71-59, but the Greyhounds had one final push. A basket with 1:27to go ended a field goal drought of more than five minutes and a basket by Tyler Hubbard made it an eight-point game. Army then committed a 10-second violation, and the Army was whistled for a technical foul for being out of the coaching box while trying to call a timeout. Loyola missed both free throws, but scored on the ensuing possession to make it a 71-65 game with 44.8 seconds to go.
Wilson made one of two free throws to push the lead back to seven, but two Loyola free throws followed by a steal and a three-pointer made it a two-point game with 17.8 seconds left. Army was able to inbound and Wilson converted both ends of the double bonus to make it a four-point game. Two more free throws made it a six-point game, and Tanner Omlid’s freebie with less than four seconds left set the final margin.
The victory gave Army a season sweep of the Greyhounds and improved the team’s record to 5-1 on the road in Patriot League play.
The Black Knights now stand in sole possession of third place in the Patriot League standings at 7-3. American remained unbeaten (10-0) with a win over Holy Cross, and second-place Boston University fell to 8-2 with an overtime loss to Lehigh. Army is now one game ahead of the Crusaders (6-4). Bucknell and Lehigh are next at 5-5, followed by Loyola, Navy (2-8), Colgate (2-8) and Lafayette (1-9).
Army returns home to face Lehigh on Wednesday, Feb. 5. Tip-off at Christl Arena is set for 7 p.m. The game can be viewed live online at www.patriotleague.tv. The Black Knights scored a 79-76 win in Bethlehem on Jan. 8
Game Notes: Dylan Cox made his team-leading 52nd consecutive start … Josh Herbeck made two three-pointers to move into a tie for fifth on Army’s all-time list (193) … Kevin Ferguson extended his Army single-season blocked shot record to 47 and his Army career record to 82 … Army’s seven Patriot League win are the second most in program history (8-6 in 2012-13) … Zach Spiker moved into sole possession of fifth place on Army’s all-time wins list (64) and extended his school record to 27 Patriot League wins … Army is 15-9 in league play in the last two seasons … Army has scored at least 75 points in six of its 10 Patriot League games … Kyle Wilson is the Patriot League’s leading scorer during conference play at 21.2 points per game … Wilson surpassed his scoring total from all of last season and crossed the 800-point mark for his career in just his 52nd career outing … Army’s six three-pointers increased the season total to 165, the ninth-best total in Academy history … after losing its first four games of the season when losing at halftime, Army is 3-2 in its last five games when trailing after the first 20 minutes.