PHILADELPHIA – The Black Knights had their two-game win streak end in a nail-biting 61-58 defeat to the La Salle Explorers on Saturday.
The contest, in which neither team led by more than eight points, was not decided until the last 30 seconds. The Black Knights had several chances to either tie or take the lead in the final two minutes, including a missed corner 3-pointer by Jalen Rucker with 14 seconds left with Army trailing 60-58.
Army had rallied from an eight-point deficit early in the second half to lead 56-54 with three minutes remaining. The Explorers started the second half by outscoring the Black Knights, 11-5, for a 42-34 lead with 15:52 on the clock. Army answered by outscoring La Salle, 13-5, over the next four minutes to tie the game at 47-47.
Army faced another deficit, trailing 54-49 with seven minutes left when the Cadets surged in front behind a 7-0 spurt with Josh Caldwell and Charlie Peterson providing the scoring for a 56-54 advantage with 3:58 left. La Salle halted the run with a 3-pointer by Jhamir Brickus, which proved to be the go-ahead points for the Explorers, with three minutes remaining, Josh Caldwell made a pair of free throws to cut the lead to 59-58 with 38 seconds on the clock. Army forced a turnover on the ensuing possession for La Salle but failed to convert the turnover into points.
The first half was dictated by two runs – one by each team. Trailing 17-12 with nine minutes remaining, the Black Knights went on a 13-2 run over the next five minutes. Army scored six straight points, capped by a Jalen Rucker layup and free throw, for its first lead at 18-17. TJ Small drained a 3-pointer as the shot clock expired for a 25-19 lead with four minutes left in the opening half. The Explorers responded by closing the half on a 12-4 run, including scoring the next 10 points, for a 31-29 halftime lead.
The Black Knights host Wagner on Wednesday, November 24 at 4 p.m. to start a three-game homestand.