Preview: Army at Lafayette

The Army Black Knights (12-7, 2-3 in Patriot League) visit the Patriot League conference co-leaders, the Lafayette Leopards (13-7, 4-1 in Patriot League), on Wednesday January 27.

When: Wednesday January 27 @ 7 PM

Where: Easton, PA at Kirby Sports Center

On paper it is a match up of the Patriot League's best defensive team Army, allowing only 59.3 points per game, against the league's best offensive team Lafayette which averages 74 points per game. However you wouldn't think that is the case based on both team's losing performances last Saturday..

Army was unable to stop Navy's duo of Chris Harris and Jordan Sugars as Navy overcame a 14-point deficit with a 33-7 second half run. Lafayette experienced its worse shooting night of the year in suffering its first Patriot league loss at Lehigh. Lafayette made only four second half field goals as it shot a season low 32% from the field.

The Match ups:

Lafayette has been one of the surprise teams in the wide-open Patriot league. After an injury plagued dismal 8-22 record in 2008-2009, the Leopards were picked in most preseason forecasts to finish near the bottom of the league. Instead Lafayette's three guard, high powered offense have scored more than 90 points in three games. The revival as been lead by three sophomores; forwards Jared Mintz (15.3 ppg), Ryan Willen (11.8 ppg) and guard Jim Mower (13.4 ppg). The 6-8 Mintz's play has been exceptional as he leads the Patriot league in field goal percentage (59%), is second in free throw percentage (87.9%) while pulling down 5.8 rebounds per game. Lafayette has been the offensive class of the league so far as the team leads in field goal percentage (47%), free throw percentage (75%) and three-point percentage (39%).

Army's second half meltdown in squandering a 14-point lead against its archrival Navy was very disappointing. Beating Navy in Annapolis is difficult but the way Army lost was rather frustrating. The Army pressure defense was simply unable to limit Navy's top players and were beaten off the dribble consistently in the second half. Prolonged offensive droughts have been problem for Army as the team struggles with offense consistency since it lacks a go to scorer. Turnovers were once again a problem with Army giving away the ball 17 times. Army needs to bring its" A" defensive game to hang with Lafayette. Chris Walker, who should have been utilized more on the low post against Navy, needs to stay out of foul trouble because without Chris's size Army will have trouble matching up with the 6-8 Lafayette forward tandem of Mintz and Willen. Army's league leading three-point defense will be tested against the high scoring Leopards.

Notes: Army defeated Lafayette last February in Easton 79-55. It was the Black Knights first win at Kirby Sports Center since 2002.

Coach Zach Spiker's landed his first recruit at Army when 6-4 shooting guard Josh Herbeck from Michigan's Father Gabriel Richard high school gave his verbal commitment. Herbeck is averaging 16.1 points per game and is considered an excellent shooter. Zach Spiker's recruiting connections paid dividends as his former boss, Michigan's John Beilein, recommended Herbeck to coach Spiker after Herbeck attended a Michigan camp this past summer. Top Stories