Army played relatively even with Lafayette over the next several minutes. Army really started to show its dependence on both Jarell Brown and Matt Bell, who combined to score 20 of the next 24 Army points. Of the two, Jarell Brown really started to put the team on his shoulders. His first trey of the game (and Army's first 3-pointer) brought the Black Knights to within 2, 27-25, with about 7 to play in the first half. But, the Leopards then went on an 11-0 run, sparked by a 3-point field goal from Bilal Abdullah. Jarell Brown ended the Lafayette run with another "3", but the teams would basically trade baskets the rest of the 1st half. The half ended with Lafayette leading 45-34.
Lafayette really started to exploit some Army defensive lapses in the second half. Andrew Brown started the scoring with a very nice jumper. After a nice drive from Army co-captain Matt Bell led to a bucket, Lafayette scored the next 6, capped by 2 layups, the second of which was on a Leopard fast break where they just beat the Black Knights down the floor. Jarell Brown and Matt Bell once again started to close the gap for Army, making the score 55-43 with 12 to play. Elusive Andrew Brown once again freed himself up and sank a 17-foot jumper to quell the mini Army rally. Andrei Capusan added 2 free throws. Then, Lafayette got a huge break when Paul Cummins emerged from a scrum of players with the ball, hit a layup on which he was fouled, and converted the free throw for the traditional "3" to Give Lafayette a 19-point lead, 62-43.
Jarell Brown tried to keep the game close for the Black Knights. He sandwiched a deep "3" from the corner, a jumper from just inside the foul line, and another 17-footer from the corner around a Lafayette trey by Abdullah. Cory Sinning made it 67-53 with a trey, but stopper Andrew Brown hit a nice 15-footer while off balance, actually leaning in towards the basket. 2 additional free throws by Jamaal Hilliard put the game out of reach. After another Jarell Brown layup, Lafayette put the final nail in the coffin. Army actually played some solid defense on the Leopards' next possession. Realizing he was 25 feet from the basket with about 1 second on the shot clock, Pat Cummins heaved up a prayer from behind the arc, and the ball banked in as the shot clock went off, giving the Leopards an insurmountable 74-55 with 4 to play. The rest of the match saw benches emptied out, extensive garbage time, and the teams trading baskets until the final buzzer.
Army could not match the defensive intensity they showed on the road. Lafayette played very well, but Army accommodated them to score 82 by missing assignments on some occasions. Andrew Brown could not be covered the whole game, and this freshman looks like a future Patriot League all-star. He led 4 Leopards in double figures with 18. Andrei Capusan outmatched the smaller Army front line and added 17 of his own. Pat Betley played bigger than his 6'2" frame, and poured in 12, with Abdullah completing the quartet with 10.
Jarell Brown had his best offensive game of the season, scoring a career high 29 points. Matt Bell added 14, including 8 of 9 from the charity stripe. Cory Sinning pitched in another 13 points. Unfortunately, Army's lack of inside presence showed as its front line only scored 5 of the team's 61 points, and Lafayette was fearless going to the basket.
Army next ventures again on the road, where it's actually played better during the Patriot League season. The Black Knights are looking to avenge an opening night loss to the Red Raiders of Colgate this coming Saturday. This time, however, the teams meet in Hamilton, NY. Army will need continued success from Jarell Brown and Matt Bell combined with a stronger inside presence to bring home a victory on Saturday.