Feb. 15, 2014
Bucknell 73, Army 61
LEWISBURG, Pa. – For the second straight game, the Army men’s basketball team battled back from a second-half deficit to take the lead, but again a late opponent run keyed by clutch three-point shooting was the Black Knights undoing in their 73-61 loss at Bucknell Saturday night at Sojka Pavilion. The loss dropped Army to 12-13 overall and 8-6 in the Patriot League, while the Bison improved to 12-13 and 7-7 in league play.
Army was down by eight at the break, but took a two-point lead with 8:07 left after back-to-back three-pointers by plebes Mac Hoffman and Tanner Omlid. Bucknell answered with a decisive 14-3 run that included four three-pointers to take a 64-55 lead with 3:05 left. The Bison were 7-for-8 from the line in the closing minutes to extend their margin and score the 12-point victory.
Omlid was the only Army player in double figures with 12, the first time in his career he scored at least 10 points in consecutive games, shooting 5-for-12 overall and 2-for-6 from deep. Omlid also tied for for the team lead with seven rebounds. He dished out two assists, blocked one shot and made two steals. Hoffman scored a career-high nine points, his first career tallies, stroking three triples in five tries. The point guard tandem of Dylan Cox and Matt Gramling added nine and eight points, respectively. Larry Toomey also scored eight points, while Kevin Ferguson added four blocked shots to his Army season and career record totals.
Kyle Wilson, the Patriot League’s second leading scorer at more than 19 points per game during league play, was held to a career-low two points. He did not make a field goal (0-6) for the first time in his 56-game career, making a free throw with 1:14 left in the game for his first point.
Cameron Ayers led the Bison with a game-high 22 points, while Brian Fitzpatrick and Chris Hass each scored 15. Fitzpatrick and Hass both snared eight boards to lead the Bison to a 42-30 rebounding edge. John Azzinaro led Bucknell with four assists.
Army shot just 40.7 percent for the game, including an 8-for-26 (.308) night from three-point range. The Bison shot 43.6 percent overall and drilled seven three-pointers in 12 tries (.583). Bucknell also held a distinct advantage at the foul line, knocking down 18 free throws in 21 tries (.857), while Army was just 5-for-13 at the stripe (.385).
Bucknell took a 14-11 lead during the back-and-forth opening minutes , but back-to-back baskets by Omlid and Gramling gave Army a one-point lead . The Bison scored 12 of the next 14 points to claim a 26-17 lead with 5:55 left. The Black Knights cut their deficit to six on two occasions, but a quick 5-0 spurt gave Bucknell their largest spread of the first half at 33-22 with 3:58 to go. Army trimmed the Bison lead to six on Hoffman’s first career three-pointer with less than a minute to go, but a pair of free thorws with 4.4 seconds left made it 37-29 going into the break.
Toomey started the second half scoring with his only three-pointer, and Hoffman’s second triple capped a 10-4 run that brought the Black Kngihts within two with 15:10 to go. Bucknell scored the next four points to re-establish a six-point margin, but a 7-0 run by the Black Knights gave them a 46-45 lead with 10:30 left. Herbeck punctuated the spurt with his only three-pointer of the night.
The lead did not last long as Hass buried a fallaway three-pointer from the left baseline as the shot clock expired on the Bison’s next trip down the floor. Ferguson rejected two shots during the possession, including one with just one second left on the shot clock that set up Hass’s triple off the inbounds play. A putback by Fitzpatrick made it a four-point game, but consecutive three-pointers by Hoffman and Omlid gave Army a 52-50 lead with 8:07 left.
Hass tied the game with two free throws and Ayers connected on the first of four straight three-pointers by the Bison during their decisive run. Ayers also hit the final triple, bookending the run that included threes by Azzinaro and Fitzpatrick. Gramling cut Bucknell’s lead to 64-57 with 2:43 to go, but Army made just one more field goal the remainder of the game (1-7). Bucknell made seven of eight free throws in the final 1:32 to push their lead to as many as 13. Wilson made one of two foul shots with 27 seconds left to set the final margin.
The loss marked the first time the Black Knights have lost three straight league games this season. Army’s 8-6 mark is still good enough for fourth place, one game ahead of the Bison.
Army plays three of its final four regular-season games at home, starting Wednesday night versus Colgate. Tip-off at Christl Arena is set for 7 p.m. The Black Knights earned a three-point win in Hamilton earlier this season.
Game Notes: Dylan Cox made his team-leading 56th consecutive start … Mac Hoffman entered the game 0-for-5 overall and 0-for-4 from three-point range … his 18 minutes of action Saturday were just three shy of his season total entering the game (21) … Kevin Ferguson became the first Army player to block 60 shots in a season … his career record total now stands at 95 … Ferguson has 24 blocks in the last six games … Kyle Wilson is now 1-for-13 with five points in two regular-season games at Sojka Pavilion … he did score 21 in Army’s Patriot League Tournament semifinal appearance in Lewisburg last season … the loss dropped Army below .500 for the first time since it was 6-7 after 13 games … the Black Knights will be going for their second series sweep of the Raiders in the last three seasons.