Army hoops swept in Pennsylvania

Cold shooting and poor rebounding continue to plague the Cadets as they fell twice this past weekend to Lehigh (63-45) and Lafayette (66-49) away from home. These two losses now bring Army's record to 1-6 in the Patriot League at the halfway point. They need to step up their game significantly if they expect to fare better as they begin the second half of the season.

Coach Billy Taylor of Lehigh has done a superb job improving the recruiting (averaging 18 wins per year in his 2 seasons), and the Army Cadets once again felt the wrath of the Mountain Hawks last Friday.

After Matt Bell made the opening bucket, Lehigh scored the next 12 points to race to a 12-2 lead. Led by Nick Monserez and Jose Olivero, Lehigh continued to extend their advantage to 17 points in the first half, leading 31-14 with about 4 and a half minutes remaining. Army finally started to heat up from the outside with four 3-point field goals (2 by Colin Harris and one each by Matt Bell and Grant Carter) to narrow the gap to 33-26 at halftime.

Army continued to hang tough in the second half, getting as close as within 5 points at 44-39, with about 14 and a half minutes left in the game. However, behind strong rebounding and the dynamic duo of Monserez (20 points) and Olivero (19 points), Lehigh was able to put away the Cadets in the latter stages of the game.

Colin Harris was the star of the game for Army, leading the way with 18 points (including 5-6 from 3-pt range) and 3 rebounds. Matt Bell also hit double digits with 13. Lehigh out rebounded Army, 39-20 and made 12 more trips to the free throw line. The Cadets hung tough, but in the end, they were simply outmatched.

Sunday's contest at Lafayette was almost a carbon copy of Friday's affair. The Leopards opened the game with a 3-point field goal by Matt Betley, and never trailed. Cory Sinning played an outstanding first half, keeping the Cadets close with his offense and overall tough play. Sinning hit a jumper to bring the Cadets within 3 (20-17) with about 5 minutes to play in the first half. However, Lafayette's inside game proved too tough for Army. Jamaal Douglas and Sean Knitter helped increase Lafayette's lead to 30-20 at the half.

Once again, Army made a run in the beginning of the second half, pulling to a 4-point deficit (33-29) on a Colin Harris jumper with a little more than 15 minutes left. However, with Army's big man, Jimmy Sewell, seeing very limited action, Army was no match for the Leopards down low. Sean Knitter once again dominated Army underneath, scoring 8 consecutive points to bring Lafayette's lead back to 10 with about 10 minutes left. From that point on, it was apparent Army would not prevail.

Cory Sinning was the best Army player on the court, scoring a career-high 16 points. Matt Bell posted double figures for the 3rd consecutive game with 10 points. Steve Stoll had a very strong overall game, scoring 8 points and leading Army with 8 rebounds.

The Army men's basketball team is in last place as it starts the second half of the season. Turnovers, extremely poor shooting and poor rebounding, particularly on the offensive end, have become much too commonplace. Army continues its current season-long road trip this coming weekend with a visit to the Maryland-DC area to take on American and archrival Navy. American beat Army by 35 points during their first match, and while Army beat Navy for its only win, the Midshipmen have since won two in a row, including a big upset over Bucknell. The Cadets will have their hands full as they try to improve on their 1-6 league mark.


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