WEST POINT, N.Y. – Buoyed by a scintillating second-half shooting performance, the Army Black Knights rallied to defeat the American University Eagles, 76-66, on Wednesday night.
The Black Knights had one of their most efficient shooting outings in a half in program history. Army made 19 of 24 shots in the second half for an exceptional 79.2 percent. The result was the Black Knights scoring 51 points, including 32 in the paint, in the second frame as they turned a six-point halftime deficit into a 10-point win.
Army led 17-14 with eight minutes left in the first period when the Eagles went on a 14-2 run in five minutes. AU went into halftime with a 31-25 lead.
In the second half, both teams got off to a hot shooting start as each squad made their first four shot attempts. The game-changing moment came when the Black Knights scored 10 straight points to take a 46-43 lead with 12 minutes on the clock. Matt Dove started the run with a layup, followed by four straight points by Jalen Rucker, a layup by Chris Mann which was the go-ahead basket, and a dunk by Isaiah Caldwell.
The Black Knights shot over 80 percent for the majority of the second and as high as 81 percent after a Dove dunk made the score 63-55 with five minutes remaining. Army reached its largest lead of the game, 75-60, with 1:14 left behind a 12-5 run.
• Jalen Rucker led all scorers with his sixth 20-point game, finishing with 25 points on 8 of 15 shooting from the field and 3 of 5 from the 3-point line. He had four assists with committing zero turnovers and chipped in six rebounds.
• Matt Dove scored a career-high 14 points, grabbed six rebounds, and swatted a game-high two shots.
• Chris Mann was in double figures for the third time in the last four games with 11 points and he added four rebounds.
• Josh Caldwell netted 10 points and grabbed a game-high seven rebounds.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
• Army shot 79.2 percent (19-for-24) from the field in the second half. The Black Knights shot 58.8 percent for the game which is the second-highest this season.
• The Black Knights improved to 8-1 at Christl Arena this season, for their best home record since going 9-1 during the 2009-10 season.
• Army scored 46 of its 76 points in the paint.
“I thought that was a really good character-building win for us. We did not play great in the first half and I thought we had some carryover from our game on Sunday (Lafayette). In the first half when immediately things weren’t different, we got frustrated and we let it affect both sides of the basketball. We’ve won some games where we haven’t shot the ball great, but we were really good defensively and we were able to sustain the lead. We haven’t been great when we’re not playing well and the other team has the lead. We showed some great resiliency with our team today by just hanging in there and fighting through. Our body language was terrific in the second half. We made some adjustments and executed in the second half.”
— – Jimmy Allen
On the second half adjustments
“We talked about working through our mistakes and raising our defensive energy. If we were not scoring, we needed to make sure to stop them. – Jalen Rucker”
We flipped the switch in the second half. The first half was not the way we wanted to start. We wanted to get more rebounds, and go inside into the paint, and get good shots” – Matt Dove
• Army travels to Annapolis, Md to play rival Navy on Saturday, January 22 at 1:30 p.m.
• Coverage will be provided by the CBS Sports Network and by the Army Sports Network via the Varsity Sports Network and www.GoArmyWestPoint.com.