Lafayette blasts past Army, 80-54

The Lafayette Leopards beat the Army Black Knights, 80-54, at Christl Arena in West Point, N.Y. on Wednesday night. It was expected to be a Patriot League battle pitting Army, the best defensive team, against Lafayette one the league's best offensive team. It ended up being a mismatch. However, in the early going Army matched the Leopards bucket for bucket.

Army led most of the first nine minutes and after a Marcus Nelson free throw Army held a 20-19 lead. Army defense tried to check Lafayette attack and it caused them to foul and put the Leopards in the bonus early. Lafayette kept up the pressure as it hit from long range and converted free throw attempts. Jim Mower hit four shots beyond the arc in the first half. Mower, who finished the game with 26 points, helped extend Lafayette to a 42-28 halftime lead.

Lafayette picked up where it left off by opening the second half with 11-4 run that pushed the Leopards lead to 21 points. Coach Zach Spiker tried a number of player combinations but Army was never able to make a run. Tyrell Thompson led the Black Knights with 18 points. Mitch Mc Donald, after playing well since being named the starter, struggled at point guard with seven turnovers. Josh Miller and Julian Simmons continued to see their minutes and effectiveness shrink. Both players have been mired in offensive slumps the last few weeks.

Army hit just 1-of-10 three-point attempts in the second half. The Leopards effectiveness from beyond the arc was the difference in the game as they nailed 14-of-27 long-range shots. Lafayette improves to (17-11, 8-5 in Patriot League) with the win. The loss means that Army will either be the seventh or eighth seed in the Patriot League tournament. Army (14-13, 4-9 in Patriot League) finishes its Patriot League regular season at home against the Bucknell Bison on Saturday at 4 pm.

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