Army loses to Bucknell in finale, 70-47

Army finished another disappointing season with a 70-47 defeat at the hands of the Bucknell Bison. Army now faces the League Champion Bison again in the Patriot League tournament on Friday night, March 3rd.

Army played Bucknell very tough in their first meeting, and started this game out very tough. The Black Knights jumped to a 9-4 lead 5 minutes into the game. This was sparked by junior Marshall Jackson, who capped the run with a 3-pointer. However, sophomore sharpshooter John Griffin sank 2 threes in a row to help retake the lead for Bucknell. Army hung tough over the next 5 minutes, and a Cory Sinning jumper gave the Black Knights a 15-14 lead with 8 left in the 1st half. This would be Army's last lead of the game. Patriot League player of the year candidate Charles Lee carried the Bison on his back, scoring all of Bucknell's points during a 9-0 run. Marshall Jackson ended the Lee run with a traditional 3 with about a minute left, but another Lee jumper finished the 1st half scoring with Bucknell leading, 25-18.

Army has performed poorly at the start of the second half several times this year, and this game was no exception. Bucknell scored 9 straight points in just over a minute, sparked by 2 Kevin Bettencourt 3-pointers, to put the game out of reach. Matt Bell scored a couple of baskets for Army, but Bucknell started to use their height advantage as Chris McNaughton reeled off 6 in a row. Matt Bell continued to pace the offense for the Black Knights with 4 more points, but another trey from Bettencourt followed by 2 Charles Lee free throws, and Bucknell extended their lead to 21 points with 13 and a half to play. The rest of the game saw extended garbage time. Army played fairly well, but were again clearly outclasses by a superior opponent. Army had one more 8-0 run to close Bucknell's lead to 13, but Army had to foul the Bison, and hope the Bison would miss free throws. Bucknell did not oblige, and when it was finally over, Bucknell had a 70-47 victory. This win clinched an undefeated Patriot League season for the Regular Season champions. Meanwhile, Army falls to 1-13 in the Patriot League, and has not been competitive in the league for 4 years.

Bucknell had 4 players in double figures, led by Charles Lee with 18. Kevin Bettencourt, John Griffin and Chris McNaughton contributed 13,12, and 11, respectively.

On the other side of the ledger, co-captain Matt Bell looks like he has rebounded from a mid-season shooting slump. Bell poured in 16 points. Marshall Jackson played very well at all, contributing in double figures. While Kenny Brewer only scored 2 points, he led the team in rebounding with 7.

If everything holds true to form, Army will only have one game left, and that is also in Bucknell. However, Army has played Bucknell very tough in stretches in both regular season match-ups, and I'm sure they will not go down quietly.

Co-captain Matt Bell seems to have found his shooting


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