Army Downs Men's Basketball in Patriot League Opener
Jan. 2, 2014
EASTON, Pa. - Army used a 19-5 run early in the second half to break the game open and began Patriot League play with an 85-66 win over Lafayette on Thursday afternoon at Kirby Sports Center. Tanner Plomb scored a game-high 24 points in the victory for Army.
Plomb scored 17 points after halftime for the Black Knights (5-7, 1-0), who made 31-of-57 from the floor in the win. Joining Plomb in double figures were Kyle Wilson (24 points) and Tanner Omlid (14 points). Lafayette had three players reach double digits in the scoring column as Dan Trist and Bryce Scott each scored 13 and Zach Rufer posted a season-high with 10 points.
Following a slow start in the game's opening minutes, Lafayette took a 7-3 lead on a Rufer three-pointer. Army began to put it together offensively and strung together an 8-0 run to take an 11-7 lead. Rufer hit another three to stop the Black Knights' run, Joey Ptasinski (nine points) drained one from the corner and then made a transition layup to force Army to call timeout after an 8-0 Lafayette stretch.
Holding a 15-11 lead eight minutes into the first half, Army scored the next nine points on three layups and a Wilson three before layups by Jake Newman and Ptasinski pulled Lafayette within one point at 20-19. Army took over from that point with a 10-2 spurt, capped by Omlid's transition lay-in as Lafayette called timeout trailing 32-21 with four minutes to play in the half.
Four consecutive points by Scott, including an old-fashioned three-point play on a right-handed drive into the paint, trimmed the deficit to seven, but Omlid drilled a three to regain the double-digit advantage for the Black Knights. The visitors eventually took a 39-27 lead into halftime on Plomb's three-point play.
The two sides traded baskets to start the second half with Lafayette going to Trist for its first six points. Michael Hoffman's block on a drive by Wilson led to offense on the other end for the Leopards as Hoffman's baseline drive and kick found Scott open in the corner for a three that made it an eight point game (44-36). Hoffman finished with a career-high three blocks.
Lafayette never got any closer than eight points as Army used a 16-5 run following Rufer's third trey of the game that came with 14:55 remaining. Plomb scored 14 of his 24 points during the run, including two threes, an alley oop from Mo Williams, and a baseline drive and two-handed slam that gave Army a 22-point lead as Lafayette took a timeout down 70-48.
Lafayette continues Patriot League play on Sunday when it travels to Annapolis, Md. for a matchup with Navy. Opening tip from Alumni Hall is slated for 2 p.m. and the game can be seen on the Patriot League Network.
The game was moved up to a 3 p.m. start due to the snow forecast to hit the Lehigh Valley.
Jamie Hughes '05 was in attendance at the game.
Ben Freeland's four rebounds were a career high.
Jake Newman's four points were a career-high.
Joey Ptasinski registered a season-high three steals.
Zach Rufer has had at least one steal in five straight games.
Lafayette's seven blocked shots were a season high.