Army picked up another Patriot League victory over the weekend with a ho-hum 65-45 win over American University. The Eagles are comfortably the worst team in the league this season, they are 0-6 in Patriot League play and 2-15 overall, and Army was able to shut down any scoring threat that American possessed holding them to 22 points in the first half and 23 points in the second. Army started the game slowly, the Black Knights also had just 22 points at halftime, before finding their shooting touch in the second half on the way to 43 more points.
Next up for the Black Knights is a trip to Holy Cross on Wednesday evening. Here are the three keys:
1. Keep up the defense
The Army offense may not have been as effective as usual against American, but the team put together by far its best defensive effort of the season. The biggest difference between the two squads was the play of Army on the boards. The Black Knights outrebounded the Eagles 42-27 and due in large part to this Army took eight more shots than American. The Black Knights were also especially effective with their perimeter defense as the Eagles went 3-of-16 from three-point range (18.8%). If Army can combine this kind of defense with the offense it has shown throughout the year then they will be very difficult to beat.
2. Rediscover the three-point touch
Army entered the game against American ranked ninth nationally averaging 10.4 three-point makes per game. Against the Eagles, however, the Black knights sharpshooters were a little off and the team went 6-of-18 from behind the arc. It was lucky that this off night from downtown was against a team that is as offensively challenged as American, but even then the Eagles were able to pull back an early 20-8 Army lead as shot after Black Knight shot hit the iron instead of the net. Kyle Wilson had his worst shooting night of the season as he went 2-for-9 from three point range and 5-for-22 overall. Against Holy Cross, the Army shooters need to find their range and knock down threes. This is especially true if Tanner Plomb has to sit for another game.
3. Get a run on
Basketball is often a game of runs and Holy Cross has just been killed by opponents putting scoring streaks together on them over the last week. The Crusaders lost their last two games, against Lafayette and Lehigh, giving up scoring runs of 27-7, 11-0, 10-1, 15-4 and 16-3. With the way the Black Knights shoot the ball there is always the threat of Army scoring points in a hurry and that has to be a big worry for the Holy Cross coaching staff knowing what the team has given up recently. If Army can get on a roll early in this one the Black Knights should be able to distance themselves from the Crusaders.