Army loses battle of Knights in final 2004 tilt

The Army Black Knights men's basketball team was soundly beaten by the Knights of host Fairleigh Dickinson on Thursday, Dec 30th. The final score was 69-53, but the game was not even that close. Once again, inconsistent play marred Army's efforts in obtaining that elusive first 2004-2005 victory against a Division I opponent.

While the game started a little later than 7:30 due to the FDU women's game that preceded this running long, our Black Knights played the first 5 minutes as though they thought the game started at 8. Fairleigh Dickinson jumped out to leads of 7-2 and 16-4 and never looked back. Coach Crews tried wholesale changes, but once again, the team committed too many turnovers (19) and did not get enough rebounds. The offensive rebounding edge FDU had (14-3) was particularly appalling. Even though they played with a 3-guard lineup for a large part of the game, Fairleigh Dickinson out rebounded Army 37-21 and took full advantage of far too many second (and third) chances. Travis Owsley made some nice shots to bring the Black Knights to within 9 (29-20) with about 3 minutes left in the first half, but Fairleigh Dickinson, led by Chad Timberlake and Tamian Trent, built the lead back to 34-22 at halftime.

The second half brought more inconsistency from our basketballers. Army started the second half on fire. Some nice hoops by Colin Harris and Cory Sinning reduced the FDU lead to 8 (40-32). However, Army found itself in serious foul trouble, committing their seventh with almost 13 minutes left in the second half. After FDU made a couple of trips to the free throw line, Mensah Peterson of FDU hit two 3-pointers, and Fairleigh Dickinson led 54-33 with about 10 minutes left. Army never made it close again--- trading buckets with Fairleigh Dickinson for the rest of the game, and incurred yet another Division I defeat.

Army was thoroughly outclassed by a much more talented team. While Army's interior defense was solid, holding the very talented Gordon Klaiber of FDU to 8 pts (he averages 16.5), FDU's 3 starting guards (Timberlake, Trent and Peterson) all posted double figures and controlled the game.

Colin Harris was the best Army player on the court by far. He led the squad in points (15), rebounds (5) and assists (4) and played a solid all-around game. Travis Owsley and Jimmy Sewell added 10 and 9 points, respectively. On the other hand, Matt Bell, averaging 17.6 PPG coming into the game, never really got untracked. He did not score until about 6 minutes were left in the game, and finished with a season-low 5 points. For the Black Knights to be successful, Matt Bell needs to be more involved in the offense.

The team has two more "preseason" contests to start off the New Year. They face the tough Big Red of Cornell University on Sunday afternoon, January 2. Two days later Army faces Cornell's Ivy League travel partner, Columbia. Both games are at West Point in Christl Arena. Hopefully, Army can start off 2005 with more consistent efforts and a couple of wins leading into their Patriot League opener next Saturday (January 8) at Colgate.

Wishing all of you a very happy and healthy New Year! Top Stories