WEST POINT - Kyle Wilson scored 28 points, including eight in final 3:27 to lead the Army men’s basketball team to an 87-84 victory over Lafayette Saturday afternoon at Christl Arena. The Black Knights, who will be the No. 5 seed in the upcoming Patriot League Tournament, improved to 14-15 overall and 10-8 in the conference, while the Leopards, the No. 9 seed, fell to 10-19 overall and 6-12 in the league.
Army’s 10 Patriot League victories are the most in program history as the Black Knights finished with a winning record in league play in consecutive seasons for the first time.
The Black Knights trailed 19-12 with just less than 14 minutes left in the first half, but outscored the Leopards 27-9 over the next nine minutes to take a 39-28 lead with 4:20 to go before halftime. Lafayette used a quick 11-2 spurt to pull within two, but Kevin Ferguson’s basket with 39 seconds left gave Army a four-point advantage at intermission. Lafayette trimmed the Black Knights’ advantage to one point twice in the opening minutes of the second half, but Army used a 12-4 run to open up a nine-point lead with 14:01 to go. The Leopards kept coming, however, getting within two on five occasions, but each time the Black Knights answered. Tanner Plomb’s three-pointer with 2:30 to go made it a five-point game, and Army led by at least three for the remainder of the contest. Seth Hinrichs had a chance to tie the game, but his last-second three-pointer glanced off the rim at the buzzer, securing the victory for the Black Knights.
Wilson’s 28 points was just one shy of his career high. The Patriot League’s top scorer during league play was 10-for-16 from the field, including 4-for-6 from deep. He made all four of his free throws, all coming in the final 33 seconds.
The Black Knights had three other players in double figures led by Ferguson’s 17 points on 7-for-8 from the field. He also grabbed five rebounds, dished out two assists and blocked four shots to become the first Army player to swat 70 shots in a season (73). Dylan Cox and Tanner Omlid added 11 points, each. Omlid also tied for the team lead with six rebounds, while Cox handed out a game-high five assists.
Omlid made three steals on the defensive end to break the Army single-season record. His 57 steals topped the old mark of 55 set by Josh Miller in 2007-08.
Hinrichs led four Leopards in double figures with 19 points. Dan Trist had 17, while Joey Ptasinski and Nick Lindner had 16 points each. Hinrichs also pulled down a game-high seven rebounds.
Both teams were over 50.0 percent shooting for the game. The Black Knights connected on 57.9 percent, including a 10-for-18 showing from deep (.556). The Leopards were at 52.2 percent overall, but were just 9-for-25 from distance (.360). Each team scored 18 fastbreak points. Army held a 34-28 edge on the glass.
The victory gave the Black Knights’ second straight season sweep of the Leopards.