Nov. 10, 2011
USAFA, Colo. - The Army men's basketball team begins its 2011-12 campaign at the All-Military Classic hosted by Air Force. The Black Knights face the Falcons at 9:30 p.m. ET Friday. That game will be televised nationally by CBS Sports Network. Army will face either VMI or The Citadel on Saturday at 8:30 p.m. or 10:30 p.m. ET.
ARMY ON THE AIR
Televsion: CBS Sports Network will broadcast Friday's game at Air Force. Roger Twibell and Pete Gillen will call the action.
Radio: The Army Sports Network will broadcast the two games at the All-Military Classic. The game will be heard in the Hudson Valley on WALL (1340-AM, Middletown) and WEOK (1390-AM, Poughkeepsie). Seth Cantor will call all the action.
Web: A live audio stream will be available online via www.goARMYsports.com's Knight Vision package. Subscription fees apply.The CBS Sports Network broadcast is also available to Knight Vision subscribers.
The Black Knights will square off with the Falcons on the hardwood for the first time since Nov. 28, 1987 at the Freedom Bowl Classic in Irvine, Calif. Army is making their first visit to the Air Force Academy.
Head coach Zach Spiker begins his third year on the Army sideline. Spiker has guided the Black Knights to 25 wins over the last two seasons, the most by an Army coach in their first two seasons since Mike Krzyzewski won 31 games in 1975-76 and 1976-77. Spiker has posted an 18-13 record in non-conference games in his first two seasons.
The Black Knights return four starters from last season's squad that went 11-19 overall and 3-11 in Patriot League play. Junior F Ella Ellis is Army's leading returning scorer. Ellis averaged 14.6 points per game during a breakout sophomore season. He was one of only six players in the Patriot League last season to average at least 14.0 points and 5.0 rebounds per contest.
Senior G Julian Simmons begins his quest for history in this weekend's competition. Simmons begins his final season at West Point with 902 career points, just shy of becoming the 27th Army player to reach the 1,000-point plateau. Simmons currently ranks fourth on the Army career three-point shooting ledger with 168 triples. The Katy, Texas, native also ranks among Army's all-time top 10 in three-point attempts (5th; 448) and three-point field goal percentage (10th; .375).
Army returns the majority of its three-point shooting firepower that produced an Academy-record 264 three-point field goals last season. The previous mark was 188. Army also broke the school record for three-point field goal attempts (724), by nearly 200 shots (537). The Black Knights return 71.2 percent of their triples from last season. Army led the Patriot League and ranked 10th in the country with 8.8 three-pointers per contest.
Army will travel eight plebes to this weekend's tournament, including G Maxwell Lenox who is slated to start at the point guard spot. The rookies comprise eight of the team's 18-person travel squad.
THE ARMY-AIR FORCE SERIES
Army holds a 2-1 all-time lead in the series versus Air Force. The two service academies have not met on the basketball court since Nov. 28, 1987 at the Freedom Bowl Classic in Irvine, Calif. This is Army's first trip to the Air Force Academy.
The Black Knights won the first meeting, 68-49, at West Point on Jan. 27, 1977. The two teams did not meet again until the 1985-86 season when Army, Navy and Air Force traveled to Tokyo, Japan to particpate in the Suntory Ball. Air Force took a 56-50 win in that contest.INSIDE THE SERIES
First Meeting: Jan. 27, 1977 (Army, 68-49)
All-Time Record: Army leads, 2-1
At West Point: Army leads, 1-0
At Air Force: First Meeting
At Neutral Site: Tied, 1-1
Last Army Win: Nov. 28, 1987 (79-70)
Last Air Force Win: Dec. 22, 1985 (56-50)
Series Streak: Army W1
Largest Army Margin: +19 (68-49, 1/27/77)
Largest AF Margin: +6 (56-50, 12/22/85)
THE ARMY-CITADEL SERIES
The Citadel owns a 5-2 all-time advantage in the series versus Army. The two teams were regular competitors in the mid 1990s and early 2000s, but have not played since the 2006-07 season.
This is the second tournament the Black Knights and Bulldogs have attended together. The Citadel scored a 59-53 win at the Weber State Military Classic during the 1991-92 season. VMI was also in attendance at the event.
The Bulldogs have claimed four of the last five meetings with Army. The Black Knights 63-55 road win during the 2006-07 season snapped The Citadel's four-game winning streak in the series.
INSIDE THE SERIES
First Meeting: Dec. 4, 1986 (Citadel, 69-65)
All-Time Record: The Citadel leads, 5-2
At West Point: The Citadel leads, 3-0
At The Citadel: Army leads, 2-1
At Neutral Site: The Citadel leads, 1-0
Last Army Win: Dec. 2, 2006 (63-55)
Last Citadel Win: Nov. 26, 2005 (68-70, OT)
Series Streak: Army W1
Largest Army Margin: +8 (63-55, 12/2/06)
Largest Citadel Margin: +24 (82-58, 1/2/04)
THE ARMY-VMI SERIES
Army leads the all-time series with the Keydets, 6-4. While the Black Knights have won four of the last seven meetings, the Keydets have been victorious in the last two outings.
VMI scored a 93-86 win in Lexington on Nov. 13, 2009. It was not only the season opener for both schools, but also the first game at West Point for Black Knights' coach Zach Spiker.
The Black Knights used a last-second three-point shot by Grant Carter to take a 71-69 decision in their last victory in the series.
INSIDE THE SERIES
First Meeting: Dec. 5, 1970 (Army, 82-47)
All-Time Record: Army leads, 6-4
At West Point: Army leads, 3-2
At VMI: Tied, 2-2
At Neutral Site: Army leads, 1-0
Last Army Win: Dec. 1, 2007 (71-69)
Last VMI Win: Nov. 13, 2009 (93-86_
Series Streak: VMI W2
Largest Army Margin: +35 (82-47; 12/5/70)
Largest VMI Margin: +24 (91-67; 2/22/95)
ARMY IN SEASON OPENERS
The Black Knights are 76-33 in their previous 109 season openers.
This is the fourth time in the last six seasons Army has opened away from West Point.
The All-Military Classic is Army's first season-opening tournament since playing in the John Thompson Foundation Classic hosted by Missouri in 2006-07. Army went 2-1 in that event, defeating Stetson and North Carolina A&T, and losing to the host Tigers.
UP NEXT ...
Army opens the home portion of its schedule versus Division III Marywood on Wednesday, Nov. 16. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.