Army hoopsters fall short in home finale

The Army men's basketball team played well, but could not dig themselves out of an early hole as they lost their final home Patriot League match, 66-59. The Cadets are now 1-12 (3-22 overall). They finish their regular season schedule with a Saturday afternoon (2/26) match up on a road trip to Holy Cross, the 2004-2005 regular season champion.

Before the game, there was a small ceremony honoring the team's lone senior, Ray Fredrick. The fans gave Ray a nice ovation.

Once again, Army never held a lead in the game and started out very slow. Colgate reeled 9 of the first 11 points of the game, capped off by an Alvin Reed 3-pointer with about 16 minutes left. Army appeared to malinger over the next several minutes as Colgate extended their lead to 31-13 with 6 minutes left in the first half. However, Army, led by freshman Jarell Brown, then scored the next 10 consecutive points to pull within 8 with 3 minutes left to play. Colgate seemed to regroup and, with a Keith Williams buzzer-beating basket, ended the first half with a 37-26 advantage.

Army played much better in the second half. Baskets by Erik Engstrom, Matt Bell, Cory Sinning and a 3-point field goal by Jarell Brown pulled the Cadets to within 6, 41-35. The rest of the way, the game was played to a virtual standstill. While the Cadets never were closer than within 3 points, Colgate's largest lead in the second half was only 10. Colgate also reaped the benefits of Lady Luck and good calls as the 35-second clock would expire. In one case, Army's defense appeared to have Colgate stopped, only to see Kyle Roemer throw up a 3-point prayer and hit it as the 35-second clock expired. In another case, Army's Cory Sinning hit a 17-foot shot from the corner and was fouled on the shot. However, in an unusual and somewhat controversial call, the referee ruled that the 35-second clock had buzzed before Sinning got his shot off. As a result, instead of a chance for a traditional 3-point play, Sinning was given 2 free throws instead, and, subsequently, missed one of them.

Army really made it at exciting at the very end. Cory Sinning brought the Cadets to within 3 with 16 seconds left with a jumper from the foul line. After a timeout, Army committed fouls to make the Red Raiders earn their victory on the foul line. However, both Andrew Zidar and Joh Simon calmly sank 4 free throws, and the final score was 66-59.

Matt Bell played yet another strong game, scoring 17 points. Jarell Brown was the "star" of the game, pouring in a team-high 18 points and playing well on defense and the boards. Cory Sinning was a third Cadet in double figures, posting 12 points. Seldom-used Erik Engstrom had his best game of the season, scoring 4 points and leading the team in rebounds with 7.

Army will now have to pull off the upset of the Century by meeting Holy Cross on Saturday. The Crusaders of Holy Cross have already clinched the Patriot League and defeated Army at West Point. They will host Army on Saturday. This is an exact preview of the Cadets first round match up in the Patriot League tournament. Army will have to play their best game of the season to even stay close to Holy Cross.


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