Army falls just short in Patriot opener

The Army men's basketball game saved their best game of the year for the start of the Patriot League schedule. Unfortunately, host Colgate proved to be just a little better, edging the Cadets 60-56 in the Patriot League opener for both teams. Still, Army more than held its own against a tough league opponent, and this bodes well for a significant improvement over last year's 3-12 record.

The first half included hot streaks from both squads. Army opened the scoring, but then Colgate reeled off 8 of the next 9 points for an 8-3 lead. With some hot shooting from 3-point range, particularly from Grant Carter, Army went on a tear, leading 25-21. This seemed to wake up the Red Raiders, who then scored the next 10 points to go back in front 31-25. While Army crept back within 4 at 33-29, the turning point of the game occurred as the first half ended. Jon Simon hit a 25-foot 3-point shot as time ran out, giving Colgate a 36-29 advantage after the first 20 minutes of play.

While this could be disheartening to any team, Army showed its mental toughness by continuing to hang in the game. Spurred by excellent play from Luke Slater, Grant Carter, and Colin Harris, Army whittled away at the Colgate lead, cutting it to one (54-53) with about 5 minutes left. Jon Simon of Colgate hit another key 3-pointer to extend the lead to 58-53. While Matt Bell pulled the Cadets back to within two with a trey, that was the closest Army came.

Army received some inspired play from several young players. Grant Carter was the star of the game, leading the Cadets with a career-high 14 points, and he also pulled down a team-high 7 boards. Matt Bell rebounded from recent sub-par efforts to score 13.

Colin Harris reached double figures yet again with 11, and played tough interior defense. Freshman Luke Slater also continues to show more confidence and ability every game, pouring in 9 points.

There were also several team highlights that reflect Army's improved play. Army matched Colgate in rebounds, and kept their turnovers down to about 11. Also, while Jon Simon (14 ppg) finished with 17 points, Army held heralded freshman, Alex Woodhouse, to only 5 points and defensively took him out of the game. Army had several chances to tie the game in the last two minutes, but the ball just was not falling. Army also did not get any help from the officials, who failed to call any fouls against Colgate in the waning minutes, even though some of the Cadets were obviously getting contact on their last few shots.

Army now must concentrate on their home opener against Holy Cross on Wednesday night, January 12. Even though Holy Cross lost their opener to pre-season favorite, Bucknell, Holy Cross still comes in with an overall 8-5 record. Holy Cross handed Army two lopsided losses last season (60-32 and 78-38), so Army will need an outstanding effort to even their Patriot League record at 1-1.


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