WASHINGTON, D.C. - Army went on a 27-7 second-half run to cut a 23-point deficit to just three with 1:18 to go, but American was able to hang on for a 58-54 victory Saturday afternoon in Patriot League men’s basketball action at Bender Arena. Mo Williams led the charge with 14 second-half points, including three three-pointers, scoring a career-high 18 for the game.
Kevin Ferguson and Dylan Cox also scored in double figures with 11 points each. Williams, Ferguson and Cox combined to score Army’s final 23 points. Ferguson also grabbed a team-high seven rebounds and blocked two shots. Tanner Omlid made three steals to move into a tie for second on Army’s single-season list with a plebe record 52 swipes. Kyle Wilson led the team with three assists.
Jesse Reed paced the Eagles with a game-high 21 points. Tony Wroblicky was also in double figures with 14 points and completed the double-double with a game-high 12 rebounds.
Army jumped out to a 4-0 lead thanks to defensive stops on the first three possessions and baskets by Omlid and Ferguson. Reed scored four straight to tie the game, but Ferguson put Army back on top 6-4.
The Black Knights’ offense went dormant over the next eight minutes as the Eagles scored the next 15 points. A basket by Cox stopped the Army drought, but that was the Black Knights’ final field goal of the half. The Black Knights’ last six points of the half came at the free throw line. The Eagles were able to take their largest lead of the half on a three-pointer by Austin Carroll. Army’s last shot was off the mark, and the Black Knights trailed 30-16 at intermission.
AU started the second half on a 10-1 run to take a 40-17 lead before Scott Mammel ended Army’s 0-for-7 start from three-point range. The Eagles rebuilt a 23-point lead at 47-24 on a three-pointer by Marco Vasic. Fergsuon hit a pair of free throws to start a 12-0 Army run. Williams scored five during the spurt that made it 47-36.
After a tough jumper by Reed, Army scored 10 of the next 12 points to trim their deficit to 51-46. Two foul shots by Wroblick re-established a seven-point lead for the Eagles, but Cox buried his only three-pointer of the game to pull Army within four points. American pushed it to a five-point game with one free throw, but Cox was fouled on the other end.
John Schoof missed a free throw, and Cox raced the ball up the court where he found a wide-open Larry Toomey trailing the play. The forward’s triple try was off the mark and the Eagles rebounded to maintain their advantage. Army forced a shot clock violation, but the Black Knights could not take advantage, missing another three-point try. AU’s Darius Gardner made two free throws with 20 seconds left and Reed scored on a run out after blocked shot to make it a seven-point game with five seconds left. Williams buried a three-pointer at the buzzer to set the final margin.
The loss assured Army can finish no higher than third place in the Patriot League standings.