NEW HAVEN, CT - Senior forward Ella Ellis scored a career-high 37 points, including 16 of Army’s 17 points in overtime, but the Yale Bulldogs came away with an 86-83 double-overtime victory at John J. Lee Amphitheater Saturday afternoon. The loss snapped Army’s (3-2) three-game winning streak, while the Bulldogs (2-5) ended a two-game skid.
Ellis’ hit 10-of-20 shots, including a 3-for-8 showing from three-point range. He knocked down 14 of his 15 free throw opportunities, including all six in the overtime periods. It was the highest-scoring game by an Army player since Mark Lueking scored 41 against Wesley on Jan. 30, 1996. It was the best scoring performance against a Division I opponent since Lueking went for 43 against Bucknell on March 4, 1995.
Three other Army players scored in double figures. Junior Josh Herbeck, freshmen Kyle Wilson and Matt Gramling each collected 10 points. It was the fourth time in five games that Wilson scored at least 10 points, while Gramling reached the mark for the first time in his young career. Rookie Dylan Cox pulled down seven rebounds, including four on the offensive end, and led the team with three assists.
Austin Morgan paced the Bulldogs with 19 points. Sam Martin scored 11 points, including the game-winning three-pointer with less than 30 seconds left in the second overtime. Matt Townsend, Michael Grace and Justin Sears added 15, 14 and 10 points, respectively.
Army out-rebounded the Bulldogs, 44-41, and shot 50 percent after halftime (20-40). The Black Knights were just 7-for-28 in the first 20 minutes, and trailed at halftime, 21-19.
After the Bulldogs jumped out to a 5-0 lead Army scored the next seven points to take a 7-5 advantage with 13:30 left in the opening half. The Black Knights held Yale without a point for six minutes, 13 seconds during their run.
The Black Knights extended their advantage to 10-7, but Yale scored 14 of the next 16 points to claim its largest lead of the first half at 21-12 with 4:25 to go. Army missed 11 straight shots during the spurt. A shot-clock beating jumper by junior Andrew Stire ended the field goal drought that lasted nine minutes, 42 seconds and a scoreless spell of six minutes, 14 seconds.
Army got back on track in the final minutes of the first half, scoring the last seven points. Herbeck knocked down the team’s first three-pointer, ending a run of 10 straight misses to start the half. For the second straight game, Wilson hit the last shot of the half which sent the Black Knights into the locker room down just two points at 21-19.
The Black Knights remained within striking distance despite shooting 25.0 percent overall and 1-for-11 (.091) from three-point range in the first 20 minutes. Ellis led the team with seven first-half points, while Herbeck added five. The Army defense limited the Bulldogs to 40 percent shooting (10-25) and a 1-for-9 showing from long range. The Black Knights forced 11 Yale miscues in the first half. Grace led the Bulldogs with five points through 20 minutes.
Yale scored the opening basket of the second half on a three-pointer by Morgan to stretch their lead to five points, but Army made their first four shots of the stanza, taking a 29-28 lead on a three-pointer by Ellis with 17:53 to go. The Black Knights led 31-30 when Grace hit a triple and was fouled for a four-point play that gave Yale a 34-31 lead with 16:42 showing on the clock.
Army quickly regained the lead by scoring eight of the next nine points, including a three-point play by Wilson that made it 39-35 with 15:29 left. The Black Knights were able to stretch their advantage to eight points at 47-39 with 10:30 remaining.
Yale began to chip away at the lead and took a 55-53 advantage on a three-pointer by Javier Duren with 6:35 left. Army tied it on two free throws by Ellis, but the Bulldogs scored the next five points, capping a 21-8 run to take a 60-55 advantage. Army cut the lead to 60-59 on back-to-back baskets by Jordan Springer and Herbeck, but the Bulldogs again stretched their lead to five on a three-pointer by Martin.
Gramling ignited Army’s comeback with his first career three-pointer, and after an Army stop, Stire knocked down two free throws with 23.2 seconds left to tie the game. The Black Knights held on the defensive end, sending the game into overtime.
Army scored first in the initial extra session and took a 70-67 lead on two free throws by Ellis with 3:54 showing on the clock. Army maintained its three-point cushion until Grace buried a three-pointer from the top of the key to knot the score at 73-73. Two free throws by Morgan gave the Bulldogs their first lead in overtime, but a freebie by Gramling and two more from Ellis with 38.2 seconds left tied the game at 75-75. Army played solid defense, but could not come up with a loose ball, giving the Bulldogs one more chance with just 3.8 seconds left. Morgan appeared to have an open jumper, but freshman Kyle Toth blocked it from behind to send the game into the second overtime.
The Bulldogs jumped out to a 79-75 advantage, but an Ellis three-pointer ended Army’s drought and pulled the Black Knights within one with 2:08 to go. Jesse Pritchard scored his only basket of the game, rebounding an air ball and throwing it back over his head and through the net as the shot clock expired to give the Bulldogs a three-point edge. Ellis countered with his third three-pointer of the game to again tie the score at 81-81, and two more free throws by the senior captain gave Army an 83-81 lead with under a minute to go.
Yale scored the game-winner on Martin’s three-pointer from the left corner. Army had three looks inside four feet that did not fall, and Morgan made two free throws to put Yale up by three. Herbeck’s last-second effort hit the front of the rim to end the game.
Army wraps up its three-game road stretch next Saturday when it travels to Bryant. Tip-off in Smithfield, R.I., is scheduled for 4 p.m.