Army falls to American in 2 OT, 65-63

Once again, the Army mens basketball team played a solid game away from home, but still fell just short. Having chances to win at both the end of regulation and in the first overtime, the Black Knights unfortunately could not capitalize on them.

Then, Andre Ingram led the Eagles on a 7-0 run in the 2nd OT to build a lead that was too tough to overcome. As a result, the Black Knights dropped the heartbreaker to go to 0-4 in the Patriot League as it gears up to play arch-rival Navy this coming Sunday.

The game started out similar to previous games with both teams feeling each other out. Army jumped to a 5-2 lead within the first 5 minutes, keyed by 2 Matt Bell jumpers. American reeled off the next 7 in a row, but spurred on by a couple of Jarell Brown, Army reclaimed the lead, 17-13, with about 6 minutes to play in the 1st half. American continued to shoot poorly (27 percent in the first half) and some good Army defense and more contributions from killer "B's" Brown and (Corban) Bates helped Army stretch their lead to 25-18 at the half.

The start of the second half saw the Black Knights worst slump of the entire contest. Brayden Billbe started to assert himself inside and a Derrick Mercer capped a 14-3 Eagle run to pace American to a 32-30 lead. The Black Knights would not give up, however. Jarell Brown again proved to be the "go-to" man for the Black Knights. He hit another 3-point field goal and added 2 more buckets to help give Army a 41-36 lead. But, charged by the partisan home crowd, the Eagles went on another 7-0 run to retake the lead. Cory Sinning broke the Eagle streak with 2 baskets of his own, and American went cold from the floor. Another Sinning jumper gave the Black Knights a 4-pt lead with 45 seconds to play. After some 2 Andre Ingram free throws, Jarell Brown hit 1 from the charity stripe and Army led 50-47 with 30 seconds left. Braydon Billbe missed a shot for American and tough Cory Sinning pulled down the rebound. Seemingly on their way to victory with the shot clock turned off and 3-pt lead with the ball, Army could not close the deal. Freshman Dan Borcherdt missed the front end of a 1-and-1 after getting fouled, and Andre Ingram, who was cold most of the game, hit a clutch 3-pointer with 11 seconds to tie the game at 50. Army still had a chance, but Jarell Brown's 3-point shot did not go down, and the game proceeded to the 1st overtime.

Jimmy Sewell started to really exert his presence in the first overtime. He started the scoring with a layup, and had a couple of blocked shots. Army actually held a 3 point lead, 57-54, with a minute left and the ball. However, Army turned it over with about 30 seconds left, and incredibly, Ingram, who only hit 4 shots from the field all night, hit another trey with 15 seconds left. Corban Bates had his shot blocked by Jordan Nichols at the buzzer, and the game went to another 5-minute session.

The start of the second overtime proved to be the Black Knights' undoing. Before 2 minutes went by, catalyzed by their rally in the first OT, American poured in 7 straight points, 3 of them from a third Ingram 3-pointer. Corban Bates hit a 3 to make the score 64-60, American, but the Black Knights then went cold from the field. Actually, both teams started to show the wear of playing 50 minutes, but the damage was done. Dan Borcherdt hit a 3 to make the game 65-63 with 4 seconds to play, but that was the ballgame.

American's balanced scoring attack saw 4 players in double figures, They were led by Linas Lekavicius with 15. Derrick Mercer added 13, as did the heroic Andre Ingram. Braydon Billbe also scored in double digits with 10 and was one rebound short of a double-double. Jordan Nichols added 10 rebounds and the key rejection of Bates' shot at the end of the first OT.

Army was led by their own version of "the microwave". Jarell Brown led all scorers with 22 points and was the focal point of the offense while in the game. Corban Bates and Cory Sinning both made solid contributions as well, scoring in double figures with 11 and 10, respectively. Unfortunately, Army's free throw shooting was only 13-24 (54 percent) and they could have iced their first win with some better clutch shooting from the charity stripe down the stretch.

The Black Knights, while losing their first 4, have definitely played better since the start of the Patriot League season. They are compensating for their lack of a real inside presence with some nice shooting from the outside and some good hustle. It seems like only a matter of time before this good work will pay off witha "W". That "W" could come this Sunday in Annapolis, when Army squares off against 0-3 Navy in a battle of the winless service academies. Army has had some success against the Midshipmen, splitting the 2 games last year, and a good effort should lead the Black Knights to victory.


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