Seventy Percent Shooting In Second Half Leads Men's Hoops Past Army
WEST POINT, N.Y. - Eric Laster scored all 19 of his team-high points in the second half, and Loyola University Maryland shot 70 percent from the field after the break to pull away from the U.S. Military Academy for a 77-71 Patriot League road win at Christl Arena.
Laster played just four minutes in the first half, but he made 9-of-13 shots in the second including a key basket in the final minute to help reserve the victory.
Franz Rassman added a career-high 18 points, and Andre Walker scored 12 before fouling out. The Greyhounds (9-12 overall, 5-5 Patriot League) used a large rebounding advantage for the second game in a row, as well, to their advantage. Loyola grabbed 41 rebounds to Army's 26.
The Greyhounds turned 13 offensive rebounds into 19 second-chance points, and they held the Black Knights (14-7, 5-5) to just five boards on the offensive glass.
Cam Gregory had a team-best seven rebounds for the Greyhounds, leading five players with five or more rebounds. Rassman and Denzel Brito each had six, and Chancellor Barnard and Nick Gorski both grabbed five.
Army led 32-29 at halftime, but two baskets by Rassman in the second half's first 95 seconds pulled the Greyhounds ahead by one, a lead they would maintain for the remainder of the game.
Andre Walker put Loyola up six, 40-34, on a fast-break layup with 15:40 left in regulation, but a traditional 3-point play by Army's Dylon Cox at 13:19 trimmed the advantage to 44-43.
Walker broke down the defense on Loyola's next possession, feeding Rassman on the opposite block for a layup, sparking an 11-0 Greyhounds run that saw Walker score four and Laster three before Tyler Hubbard knocked down a three with 9:32 on the clock.
Larry Toomey momentarily broke the Loyola run with two free throws 16 seconds later before a Laster layup and a Walker three with the shot-clock under five gave Loyola a 15-point advantage, 60-45.
Army slowly chipped away at the Loyola lead, however, aided by making 9-of-11 shots from the free-throw line over the ensuing five minutes.
A Kyle Wilson three, one of his six in the game, cut the Greyhounds' lead to two, 70-68, with 2:45 left in the game, but Rassman grabbed an offensive rebound, and Laster scored in the paint with 92 seconds remaining to make it a two-possession game.
Wilson, however, responded with a three at 1:24, and Loyola's lead was just one, 72-71.
On its next possession, the shot clock wound under five, and Laster appeared to lose the handle on the ball at the top of the perimeter, but he regained control and hit a fading 20-foot jumper with 39.3 seconds left in regulation.
This time, however, Wilson's three misfired, and Brito came down with the rebound. He was fouled with 20.9 seconds left, but he missed the front end of one-and-one.
Army came down with the rebound, and Wilson drove the baseline from the left side, but his reverse layup was well defended and went wide. Rassman grabbed the rebound, was fouled and made both ends of one-and-one at the line to give the Greyhounds a five-point cushion with 9.4 seconds left.
Dylan Cox missed an off-balance jumper for Army, and Rassman closed the game with one out of two at the line after grabbing the rebound and drawing a foul.
Wilson matched Laster for game-high honors with 19 points, and Plomb added 13, but they were the only Black Knights in double figures.
The Greyhounds made a season-high 30 field goals in the game and shot a season-best 50.8 percent from the field.
Loyola continues its Patriot League road trip Wednesday with a 7:30 p.m. game at American University in Washington, D.C.