Holy Cross defense stifles Army, 66-29

Army faced their toughest test of the season to date in their Patriot League home opener against Holy Cross. For the first 15 minutes, Army played the Crusaders evenly. From that point on, the defense of Holy Cross (ranked 23rd in the nation) was too tough to handle, and the Crusaders proceeded to rout the Cadets 66-29.

Army started the game playing well both defensively and offensively. On offense, they were moving the ball around, setting up for open 3-point shots. Defensively, they were challenging Holy Cross and holding their own on the boards. Three-point field goals by Jimmy Sewell, Cory Sinning, Colin Harris, and Matt Bell paced Army to a 12-11 lead with about 11 minutes left to play. The next 5 minutes were characterized by good defense and cold shooting on both sides. Travis Owsley hit the only 2-point field goal in the first half for Army with a little under 6 minutes left to pull the Cadets within 2, 16-14. From this point on, it was all Holy Cross. Holy Cross stepped up their defensive intensity and Army became extremely tentative. Holy Cross converted a couple of turnovers and rolled to a 26-15 halftime lead.

Army never seemed to come out of the locker room for the second half. Holy Cross continued to challenge Army's shooters, who went ice cold. At the same time, Holy Cross broke down the Army interior defense, hitting for some easy lay-ups. Holy Cross raced to a 41-22 lead with about 12 minutes left. At that point, Kingston, N.Y. native Keith Simmons paced the Crusaders by scoring the next 11 points for Holy Cross. Holy Cross led 52-25 with about 7 minutes left, and the rest of the game was purely garbage time. Even the Holy Cross second team played strong defense, holding Army to less than 30 points. This was truly a very big disappointment after such a strong showing against Colgate in Army's Patriot opener.

Holy Cross was led by Kevin Hamilton and Keith Simmons, who both scored 18 points. Holy Cross dominated the game on all counts. Holy Cross had more rebounds (38-20), more blocked shots (8-1), more assists (15-7) and more steals (8-2). Most indicative of the Crusaders' tough defense was holding the Cadets to 19.6 percent FG percentage (while shooting 50 percent from the field themselves).

A lone bright spot for the Cadets was Jimmy Sewell. Jimmy led the team with 11 points (including 3 3-pointers) and 7 rebounds. The schedule makers have not been kind to Army. Army's next game is in Lewisburg, Pa. against Bucknell, who is 2-0, and already defeated Holy Cross by 16 points.

Army will need to play much better and put forth a consistent effort for the full 40 minutes if it hopes to win on Saturday, January 15, against the Bucknell Bison.

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