Army and American combined to play one of the ugliest first halves in college basketball this season in a game not even the purists could have loved. The Black Knights missed their first four shots from the field, trailing 7-0 at one point before limiting American to just eight points over the rest of the first half to take a 24-15 lead into the locker room. In the second half both teams woke up, with American actually shading the scoring battle by three in the period but unable to crawl out of the original hole they had dug.
That being said here is a look back at how the three keys played out in this one:
1. Be efficient offensively – Pass
This pass does have a little bit of a caveat as while Army shot decently from the field as a whole, the three-point shooting was below the level that the coaching staff would expect. During its recent five game win streak the Eagles had held their opponents to just 39% from the field. Army however beat that mark as the team shot 46% from the field on Saturday. This could have been a much more convincing victory however had Army shot the three ball with any consistency. Instead Army was 4-of-19 from behind the arc, just 21.1% for the game. This has to improve for Army to be a threat in the Patriot League Tournament.
2. Force turnovers – Fail
American generally wins when it succeeds in not turning the ball over. During the aforementioned five game win streak the Eagles turned the ball over just 12.4 times per game. When they were bought back down to earth last week by Boston U the Eagles turned the ball over 16 times. Army had seen the blueprint for shutting down American by forcing turnovers, but the Black Knights were not able to take advantage of this and force the issue. Instead it was American who forced more turnovers (14) than Army (9) was able to.
3. Contain Jesse Reed – Pass
One area that Army did excel in on Saturday was shutting down the Eagles biggest threat. Jesse Reed came into the contest leading American in points (12.3), rebounds (3.9) and assists (2.0) per game. Reed hit his rebound (4) and assists (2) mark, but he was unable to break into double figures in points (9). With Reed effectively shut down as a scoring threat American had to look to other outlets and it was Delante Jones (18) who stepped up. In the clutch though the Eagles needed Reed to stand up, but his 3-of-12 from the field line shows that Army did an outstanding job of stopping the Eagles best player.