Black Knights Claim Road Victory at CCSU, 66-55

NEW BRITAIN, CT – Army West Point men’s basketball (6-7, 0-0 PL) took down Central Connecticut State (2-11, 0-0 NEC) on the road last Tuesday evening. Jalen Rucker led the Black Knights with 18 points, six rebounds and three assists.

The win marks the final non-conference fixture for the Black Knights, who will open Patriot League play next week.

Jalen Rucker got it started for Army with the first two baskets of the contest for the Black Knights, a precursor to a game where he was the leading scorer. Army used an 8-0 run in the opening minutes to get out to a 12-7 lead, before a pair of three-pointers from Coleton Benson were knocked down to give Army an 18-12 advantage. The game was tied at 20 when Jimmy Allen called timeout with 9:36 to go in the half. Army was holding the Blue Devils to 7-18 shooting at the time, but were losing the offensive rebounding battle 8-1.

Army responded with a 13-0 run across the next 7:14 of game action, featuring hits from three-point land from Rucker and Jared Cross. The Black Knights did not allow another offensive rebound in the half, getting out to a 38-23 lead after a made three from Ethan Roberts. However, CCSU used a 7-0 run over the final 1:10 of the half, including a buzzer-beating three to make it a 38-30 lead for the Black Knights at the half.

Peterson and Rucker opened the second half with buckets, before a TJ Small hit from deep made it a 45-32 lead for Army with 17:11 to play. Shots were knocked down by Jaden Ellis, Charlie Peterson and Cross on consecutive possessions, sparking a 7-0 run to extend the lead. The Army defense forced four straight empty possessions in crunch time, getting out to a 59-43 lead after a basket from Roberts.

The Blue Devils eventually cut it down to a single-digit lead with 2:15 to play following a layup from Kellen Amos. Army’s defense held firm as it had all game, failing to relinquish the multi-possession lead despite multiple empty trips on the offensive end. Rucker drained all four of his free throw attempts in the final 32 seconds to put the game to rest for Army, eventually securing a 66-55 victory. Army shot 50-percent (23-46 FG) from the field in the contest while holding CCSU to 32.8-percent (21-64 FG).

Army will return home to open conference play, hosting Lehigh on Friday, Dec. 30 at 6:00 p.m.

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