It turns out that Army plays pretty well on short rest after all. Just 48 hours after a double overtime loss against Loyola the Black Knights used a national TV stage to loudly declare their intentions for the remainder of this season. Army dominated Colgate on the boards and finally controlled a game from the middle of the second half onward to comfortably see this one out. With Colgate down by as many as 16 late in the game this was by far the most complete game the Black Knights have played since the turn of the year.
Here is a look back at the three keys for Monday night’s game:
1. Keep up the perimeter defense – Fail
Colgate can be a pretty solid three point shooting team on their day and that is exactly what the Black Knights got from the Raiders on Monday night. Colgate went 10-of-23 from three, shooting the ball from downtown at a 43.5% clip. Sean O’Brien was probably the pick of the Colgate shooters as he went 3-of-4 from behind the arc. The biggest positive for the Black Knights three point defense is that they never let sharpshooting guard Austin Tillotson (0-of-5 from three) get going. In addition Army was able to clamp down on the shooters as the game went on, pulling out enough of a lead that the Raiders were never in range down the stretch.
2. Better shot selection – Pass
When Army shoots 37.8% as it did against Loyola on Monday it is going to take a monumental effort on the boards to keep the Black Knights in range. Against Colgate however Army increased its shooting efficiency to 47.4% and ran out as impressive, and comfortable, winners. The biggest difference between the two games was the shot selection of Tanner Plomb and the scoring impact of Kevin Ferguson. Plomb took just 10 shots, a low number for one of the top 20 leading scorers in the nation, but he hit on 50% of those attempts. Ferguson has a game high 24 points and was a perfect 8-of-8 from the free throw line to go along with his eight buckets from the field. If Army can manufacture the shots they want on a nightly basis then this team will continue to win games.
3. Continue to get healthy – Pass
Both Ferguson and Plomb seem to be back healthy and that is scary news for the Black Knights foes down the stretch. Ferguson had his third consecutive double-double with 24 points (a career high) and 12 rebounds against Colgate. Plomb was actually under his scoring average with 18 points, but his better shot selection, especially from three point range, kept the scoreboard ticking over. With Plomb and Ferguson playing at this level Kyle Wilson can go back to being that complementary three point threat that doesn’t have to win games on his own. Add in 16 assists and this was a dominant game from Army.