Both teams started slowly in the first half. With about 15 minutes left in the first half, Dan Borcherdt hit a 3-pointer to even the game at 9. This was the start of a 9-0 run for Army, capped off by nice shots from Colin Harris and Matt Bell. Then, Brown reeled off 6 points in a row to tie the game back at 15. The rest of the first half was played very close, with both teams committing turnovers and playing good defense. The score was tied at 20 as the clock wound down for the first half. However, giving a preview of his second half heroics, Scott Friske hit a 3-point shot from the top of the key as the first half buzzer sounded, giving Brown a 23-20 advantage.
Both teams came out on fire in the second half. Colin Harris scored the first 7 points of the 2nd session for Army, sandwiched around a Mark McDonald 3-pointer. Friske then hit a layup and was fouled, but missed the shot, and Keenan Jeppesen threw down a 2-handed stuff off another Army turnover to give Brown a 30-27 lead. A Cory Sinning 3-point field goal tied the game at 30, and Becker and Bell traded hoops to keep the game tied. Damon Huffman missed a desperation 3-pointer, but was fouled by an overaggressive Sinning and calmly sank 3 free throws. Friske and Bell exchanged 2 free throws each, and then also exchanged baskets to make the score 39-36 in favor of Brown with just under 14 minutes to play.
Colin Harris and Matt Bell helped Army get back in the game, and Corban Bates' only bucket of the game gained Army another tie at 44 with 9 minutes left. Brown then went on a 7-0 run, capped by another 3-pointer from Huffman, to gain a 51-44 advantage with 6 to play. At this point, Grant Carter entered the game for the first time and was a definite catalyst. He hit 2 3-point field goals, both from NBA 3-pt distance, and his second one tied the game at 55 with 1:36 to play. Brown scored single free throws from both Friske and Jeppesen gave Brown a 2-pt advantage with 30 seconds to go. Army looked lost on their last possession, but then Matt Bell performed a hard drive to the basket and hit a tough layup with 3 Brown defenders draped all over him to tie the game with 9 seconds left, causing the partisan Christl crowd to go into a frenzy. Brown hurried the ball down the court, but Scott Friske was called for a charge with 2 seconds left, setting the stage for the final sequences.
Scott Friske was clearly the best player for the Brown Bears. The freshman scored a career high 24 points, and his height gave the Black Knights fits all afternoon long. Damon Huffman was the clear-cut second offensive option for the Bears, scoring 14 points on 3 3-point field goals and 5-5 from the charity stripe.
For the Black Knights, who obviously miss Jarell Brown, Matt Bell led the Black Knights in scoring yet again with 20. Matt should pass Jason Wands and move into the 35th spot on the all-time Army scoring leaderboard in his next game. He may very well be in the top 10 by the time his career is over. Colin Harris again provided good scoring down low with 17, and played a solid all-around game.
Army has one more tune-up against yet another Ivy League squad on Wednesday, January 4th. They host Dartmouth at 7 pm.