WEST POINT - Army’s (9-11, 2-3 PL) starting five consisting of entirely plebes combined to score 56 points, including Kyle Wilson’s second straight 20-point effort, to lead the Black Knights to a 77-64 win over American (7-13, 2-3 PL) at Christl Arena Saturday afternoon. Army trailed by eight in the first half, but outscored the Eagles by 21 during the final 26:21.
Wilson made seven of his 11 shot attempts, including a three-pointer, and knocked down five of six free throws to reach the 250-point mark for the season. He is only the 12th Army rookie to score at least 250 in a season.
Freshman Kyle Toth added 12 points on four three-pointers (4-7), and Larry Toomey reached double figures for the fourth time in his career with 10 points. Dylan Cox added eight points and led the team with six rebounds and eight assists, matching his career high. Cox did not commit a turnover in 28 minutes. Kevin Ferguson made his first career start, chipping in six points, four rebounds and two blocked shots. Senior Ella Ellis scored 12 points, all in the second half, including two key three-pointers.
Army shot 52.0 percent (26-50) overall and was 9-for-17 from three-point range. The Black Knights’ defense limited the Eagles to 41.1 percent overall and 31.6 percent from deep, forcing 15 turnovers.
Stephen Lumpkins led all players with 21 points and completed the double-double with 10 rebounds. Daniel Munoz scored 13, while John Schoof added 12, 10 of which came in the first half.
Army’s victory snapped a six-game losing streak versus the Eagles.
Army’s defense keyed a game-opening 10-2 run that featured two breakaway dunks by Cartavious Kincade and three-pointers by Toomey and Toth. The Black Knights harassed the Eagles into a 1-for-6 start from the field and six turnovers.
American responded with a 10-3 run to cut Army’s lead to 13-12. Schoof capped the spurt with a three-point play at the 12:14 mark. The Black Knights were able to push their lead back to three points at 17-14, but a three-pointer by Munoz tied the score and jumpstarted a 13-2 run that gave the Eagles their largest lead of the half at 27-19 with 6:21 to go.
A basket by Wilson halted the Eagles’ momentum and started Army’s comeback. The Black Knights scored 10 of the next 12 points, including back-to-back three-pointers by Toomey and Toth that tied the game at 29-29 with 3:08 showing on the first-half clock. American scored the next three points to regain the lead, but Wilson buried a jumper as time expired to send the Black Knights into the locker room down by just one at 32-31.
Army took the lead before the Eagles crossed halfcourt in the second stanza. Toomey converted a backdoor layup on the half’s first possession, and Toth drilled a three-pointer after making a steal on the inbounds. The stretch was part of a 9-0 run to open the half that gave the Black Knights a 40-32 lead. Army held the Eagles scoreless for the first four minutes, 11 seconds of the half.
After a Lumpkins’ three-point play cut the Eagles’ deficit to five, Army scored 10 of the next 13 points to take its first double-digit lead. Ellis capped the spurt with a three off a feed from Cox with 12:16 remaining.
Lumpkins scored the next four points to make it 50-42, but another Army run, this one of the 9-2 variety, pushed the Black Knights lead to 15 at 59-44 after a three-point play by Andrew Stire with 8:43 to go. The Black Knights led by as many as 16, and never fewer than 10 for the remainder of the game.
Army is now 6-2 at home this season with both Patriot League wins coming at Christl Arena.
Army is back on the road Wednesday night at Holy Cross. The Black Knights and Crusaders split the season series a year ago with each team winning on its home floor.