The Army Black Knights basketball season ended on a low note on Sunday afternoon in the Patriot League Tournament semi-finals. The Black Knights had entered the tournament with a real air of anticipation at the chance to win the auto bid and make the NCAA Tournament for the first time in history and that confidence was only buoyed when top seeded Bucknell fell at the first hurdle.
Army though fluffed their lines big time against the Crusaders, suffering by far their worst shooting night of the season at the most inopportune time. The Black Knights let Holy Cross get out to a fast start, at one point the Crusaders were leading 21-9, and just couldn’t ever get a handle on the 1-3-1 zone that they were facing. The key to breaking a defense like this is the ability to hit open shots, but Army took and missed shot after shot on their way to shooting 22.6% for the game and 20% from three-point range.
It was a bitterly disappointing end to the season for Army’s core group of five senior starters. Dylan Cox and Kevin Ferguson were each limited to 26 minutes or less due to foul trouble and Army just could not seem to find a rhythm against a team they scored 72 points against in the middle of February. Ferguson may have had his worst game of the season offensively as for whatever reason he couldn’t seem to shake free and find his shots. As a result he had just two field goal attempts and four points after rolling though the back half of league play scoring double digits at will.
As had been pointed out recently the bench always looked like it could be an Achilles Heel for Army if the starters were ever ineffective. This turned out to be the case as the six bench players who saw minutes for the Black Knights went a combined 0-of-13 from the field, with the single bench point scored on a free throw from Kennedy Edwards. All this poor shooting and missed opportunities saw Army put up just 12 points in the second half and never threaten a Holy Cross squad that led by 20+ most of the way home.