Feb. 28, 2009
Center Valley, Pa. - Army needed a victory and some help to earn the No. 4 seed and a home game in the Patriot League Men's Basketball Tournament coming into Saturday's games, but everything broke the Black Knights way as they knocked off Bucknell, 70-53, and saw Lehigh fall at Holy Cross, 64-49, and Colgate lose at Navy, 77-64. That gave Army the No. 4 seed and final home date in the quarterfinals on Wednesday, where the Black Knights will join No. 1 American, No. 2 Holy Cross and No. 3 Navy as hosts. The Eagles won at Lafayette, 75-68, in overtime on Saturday for their 10th straight victory.
The matchups are set for the quarterfinal round of the Tournament on Wednesday. Lafayette will play as the No. 8 seed and visit No. 1 American. No. 7 Bucknell goes to No. 2 Holy Cross for their seventh meeting in the League Tournament in the last eight years. No. 6 Colgate visits No. 3 Navy, while No. 5 Lehigh goes to No. 4 Army with the teams facing off in the quarterfinal round for the third straight year. The entire Patriot League Tournament is played at home sites, with each game at the court of the higher seed.
American will play as the No. 1 seed in the field for the second year in a row, becoming the first school since Lafayette in 1998-00 to earn back-to-back top seeds. The Eagles are 21-7 overall, and became the seventh team in League annals to finish with at least a 13-1 League record. The Eagles won last year's Patriot League Championship over Colgate. The No. 1 seed has won 14 of the 18 Patriot League titles, and advanced to the Championship each season. The Eagles are playing as the No. 1 seed for the third time in their eight-year Patriot League tenure. They are hosting in the quarterfinals for the third year in a row.
Holy Cross will host a quarterfinal game for the fourth time in the last five years, while Navy has home court for the second straight season. Army will play at home in the quarterfinals for the first time since hosting the first two rounds of the Tournament in 1999. The No. 4 seed is Army's best finish in its Patriot League history.
Each of the Patriot League quarterfinal games are available on high-speed broadband via the League's All-Access package, which can be purchased for a small monthly fee at www.patriotleague.com. For ticket information, please go to the institution websites.
For more information, visit the 2009 Patriot League Men's Basketball Championship page.
Army (10-18, 6-8 Patriot League) clinched its quarterfinal home game with a big run to open the second half. The Black Knights started the period on a 19-2 run to turn a two-point halftime lead into a 48-29 advantage with 14:37 left. Army led by at least 13 points the rest of the way to sweep the Bison for the second year in a row with the 70-53 win.
Julian Simmons led the Black Knights with a career-high 21 points, while also setting career marks with five three-pointers and five rebounds. Josh Miller and Doug Williams tied season highs with 18 and 14 points, respectively, and Cleveland Richard added 12 points. Army limited Bucknell to 30.4 percent shooting, including 21.1 percent from three-point range. Army's six Patriot League wins ties the program's best showing and marks the first time the Black Knights have reached that mark in consecutive seasons. The win was also the Black Knights' second straight road win after five consecutive losses away from West Point. No. 4 seed Army will host No. 5 Lehigh at 7 p.m. in Wednesday's quarterfinals.
Bucknell (7-22, 4-10 PL) got 23 points and 12 rebounds from Patrick Behan, who notched his fifth-straight 20-point game and eighth of the year. The Bison had only five assists while committing 16 turnovers. No. 7 seed Bucknell visits No. 2 Holy Cross at 7 p.m. in the quarterfinals on Wednesday.
Navy (19-10, 8-6) got big efforts from its senior class to win its final regular-season home game. The four seniors combined for 48 of the 77 points for the Mids. Kaleo Kina led the way with 23 points to go over 1,500 for his career. The Mids came back from an early deficit with a 14-0 run in the first half, and pulled away with a late 10-2 run in the second half after Colgate had cut the deficit to six. Chris Harris scored 17 points and Adam Teague added 12, while O.J. Avworo had a career-high nine assists. The Mids shot 50 percent in the game.
Colgate (9-19, 5-9) got 16 points and eight rebounds from Ben Jonson, while Mike Venezia added 14 points.
Navy and Colgate will be right back in Annapolis on Wednesday at 7 p.m., as the No. 3 seed Mids host the No. 6 seed Raiders in the quarterfinals.
Holy Cross (16-13, 11-3 PL) ended its regular season in style with a 15-point win over Lehigh. The Crusaders went on an 11-0 first-half run to take the lead for good, and were up 27-16 at the break. Holy Cross went up by as many as 20 points before settling on the 64-49 win. R.J. Evans led the Crusaders with 15 points and seven rebounds, while Eric Meister had eight points and 10 boards. Colin Cunningham and Andrew Beinert each scored nine. The No. 2 seed Crusaders host No. 7 Bucknell at 7 p.m. in the quarterfinals on Wednesday.
Lehigh (15-13, 5-9 PL) dropped its third consecutive game to end the season. Rob Keefer scored 13 points for the Mountain Hawks, while Zahir Carrington added 10. The No. 5-seeded Mountain Hawks travel to No. 4 Army for a 7 p.m. tipoff in Wednesday's quarterfinals.
American (21-7, 13-1 PL) concluded an impressive regular season with the overtime victory at Lafayette. The Eagles won their 10th consecutive game and 16th in the last 17 outings, and became one of only seven Patriot League teams to finish the League schedule with at least a 13-1 record. It was the 11th road victory for the Eagles, which ties the top mark in the country coming into the day and sets a school record.
After Lafayette rallied late to force overtime, Garrison Carr took over for the Eagles. He scored 11 of his 23 points in the extra session, hitting a trio of three-pointers to put American ahead, 69-64, with 1:37 to go. Carr connected on six three-pointers in the contest. Derrick Mercer added 12 points, seven assists and five rebounds, while Brian Gilmore and Nick Hendra each scored 10 points.
Lafayette (8-21, 4-10 PL) was down by eight points late in regulation, but used a 9-1 run to knot the score at 60 with 28 seconds left. Jeff Kari led the Leopards with 19 points, while Michael Gruner notched his first double-double with career highs of 17 points and 10 rebounds. Andrew Brown had 14 points while shooting 8-for-8 at the foul line.
The Leopards and Eagles match up again in Wednesday's quarterfinals, this time from American's Bender Arena. No. 8 seed Lafayette visits No. 1 American for a 7:30 p.m. tip.
For more information, please see the recaps from each of the institution websites below.
Army 70 at Bucknell 53
at Navy 77, Colgate 64
at Holy Cross 64, Lehigh 49
American 75 at Lafayette 68
2009 Patriot League Men's Basketball Tournament
All Rounds at Site of Higher Seed
Wednesday, March 4 - Quarterfinals
No. 8 seed Lafayette at No. 1 seed American, 7:30 p.m.
No. 5 seed Lehigh at No. 4 seed Army, 7 p.m.
No. 7 seed Bucknell at No. 2 seed Holy Cross, 7 p.m.
No. 6 seed Colgate at No. 3 seed Navy, 7 p.m.
Sunday, March 8 - Semifinals
No. 1/8 vs. No. 4/5, TBA
No. 2/7 vs. No. 3/6, TBA
Friday, March 13 - Championship
No. 1/8/4/5 vs. No. 2/7/3/6, 4:45 p.m. (ESPN2)