Before each game the article will set up the three keys to an Army victory over the upcoming opponent, then when the game done a second article will revisit these keys to see how they impacted the outcome of the contest.
Here are the three keys to the Black Knights game on Saturday at Loyola Maryland:
1 - Start strong
The Black Knights dropped a home game they should have won on Wednesday night to a Lafayette Leopards team that player for player they outclass. The problem was that in the first half Army just could not get shots to fall in the basket and shot just 27 percent from the field. As a team that shoots a lot of threes Army will never have the highest shooting percentage in the country, but it has to be better than that. This poor shooting, in conjunction with way too many turnovers in the early going, resulted in the Black Knights scoring just 23 points in the first half and finding themselves down by 13 and the break. Against Loyola priority number one has to be making a stronger start so as to not give an inferior team any momentum.
2 - Get to the line
One of the other problems about being a team that can live or die by the three is that Army does not get to the free throw line all that often. Against Lafayette, the Black Knights took 37 three point attempts (hitting 12) and had just 13 attempts total from the charity stripe (hitting 9). The only Army player with more than two attempts for the game was guard Dylan Cox who shot seven (making five). It is hard for a jump shooting team to manufacture more trips to the free throw line, but Army needs to drive the lane a little more and get some of the better players in a Loyola team that only runs seven or eight.
3 – Slow down Andre Walker
Loyola is 4-10 on the season, yet they are joint top of the Patriot League as three of their four wins have come in their first three conference games of the season. The Greyhounds hot streak has been best personified by the play of sophomore point guard Andre Walker. Walker may only be six feet tall and 165-pounds, but he is a consistent double-digit scorer for Loyola who is a threat to go off and score in bunches every night. As a volume scorer Walker takes a lot of bad shots, but on this three-game run he has scored 11, 21 and 18 points, leading the Greyhounds in scoring on the last two occasions. If the Army defense can keep Walker quiet then the team will have a better chance to win.