The lone bright spot for the Cadets on Friday was Steve Stoll, who led the team with 11 points, including 3 3-point field goals. Army followed its worst effort of the year with its best. While the weather kept some fans away, there were several Cadets in attendance, which led to a raucous atmosphere.
Going into the game, Army and Navy were the only remaining winless teams within Patriot League play (both 0-4 going in). The start of the game seemed to indicate that it would be a close one throughout. Army and Navy fought a seesaw battle for most of the first half. Army raced to leads of 5-0 and 9-5. Navy scored 10 points in a row to take a 15-9 lead with about 13 minutes left. Army fought back to tie the game at 20-20 on some nice baskets by Matt Bell. Grant Carter hit a key 3-pointer with about 4 and a half minutes left to give Army a 23-20 lead, one which the Cadets would not surrender again. Some clutch free throw shooting as well as another 3-point FG by Carter helped Army to extend their lead to 32-24 at halftime.
Army picked up in the second half where it left off in the first half. Marshall Jackson added two tough baskets to add to Army's lead, 36-24. After Navy scored 2 baskets to cut Army's lead to eight, co-captain Matt Bell took over. He proceeded to score the next 6 points and also earned a key steal on defense. Army led 45-30 with about 12 and a half minutes left, spurred on by a traditional 3-point play by Ryan Wallace.
Navy valiantly tried to stay in the game, but their shooting went cold, partly due to the very tough Army defense. Army was very active on defense, being encouraged by the partisan crowd and the fact that they started to smell their first win. Colin Harris hit a big 3-point FG as the shot clock expired to give the Cadets a 55-38 lead with about 3 minutes left in the game. Navy could not get any closer, as clutch free throw shooting by Cory Sinning, Matt Bell and Ray Fredrick helped ice the win for the Cadets. The fans were providing a standing ovation as the last 10 seconds ticked off the clock in Army's convincing 63-43 victory.
Army played sound basketball, committing only 6 turnovers in their first home victory over Navy since the 2001-2002 season. Army held Navy to 28 percent shooting and added 8 steals, and even though Army was out rebounded, 39-28, several Navy rebounds occurred during the last couple of minutes when the game was already out of reach.
Matt Bell had his best game in a very long time, pacing the Cadets with 20 points and 6 rebounds, as well as shooting 8-11 from the charity stripe. Cory Sinning had a solid game, adding 12 points and tough defense. Grant Carter poured in 11 points, including 3 field goals from beyond the arc.
Congratulations to Coach Crews, his staff and the entire mens team on their strong 40-minute effort. They now embark on their toughest stretch of the season away from home. They play 4 games in a row away from Christl, including 2 next Friday and Sunday (1/28 and 1/30), against Lehigh and Lafayette, respectively.