Moving Past Boston
The Black Knights drew Boston University as their first round matchup at Christl Arena. That matchup made some Army fans uneasy as just 8 days prior to the game, the Terriers beat Jimmy Allen’s squad by 6 in the same place. When Boston found themselves up by 7 with just over 2 minutes to play, it seemed that Army would suffer the same fate.
🚨 Official! 🚨— 𝙱𝚛𝚒𝚐𝚊𝚍𝚎 𝚁𝚎𝚟𝚒𝚎𝚠 (@BrigadeReview) February 26, 2023
Army will host a QF matchup against Boston on March 2nd.
PL Basketball Toruney Bracket below: pic.twitter.com/ClBV31f5r7
But after Charlie Peterson, a junior forward, finished the back end of a layup-and-one, Army closed the deficit to 4. After a defensive stop, sophomore guard, TJ Small, made one of two free throws after a foul to bring the Black Knights within one possession of a tie. After another defensive stop and an Army timeout, the Black Knights trusted Patriot League Rookie of the Year, Ethan Roberts, to take the necessary three pointer. He missed. But TJ Small collected the offensive board and dished it to junior guard, Jalen Rucker. Rucker didn’t miss. And after another defensive stop, the game went to overtime.
Rucker had 10 of Army’s 12 points in the extra frame including going 6/7 from the free throw line. When the final buzzer sounded, the scoreboard read 71-69 in favor of the Black Knights.
Army in the Semifinals
If we’ve heard it once, we’ve heard it a thousand times. Along with William and Mary, The Citadel, and St. Francis (NY), Army is one of the few teams that have never gone to an NCAA tournament, despite being eligible for every one of them. Now, Army is a bit different than the other three as they rejected NCAA tournament invites in 1944 and 1968, the latter in favor of the NIT.
But since the Bobby Knight days, Army has had the ability to earn a bid through their conference tournament. Starting with the ECAC-Metro Tournament, and continuing with the MAAC and Patriot League, Army has found themselves in their tournament semifinal 14 times, not including this year. In the Patriot League, Army is 0-9. In the MAAC, Army was 0-3. In the ECAC-Metro, Army was 1-1.
The lone semifinal win was a 1978 win over Seton Hall in Nassau Coliseum. Army would go on to lose to St. John’s in the final two days later.
This year, Army will play top seeded Colgate in Hamilton, NY. Despite the Black Knights mediocre 10-8 record, Army has fared better than most playing the Raiders. Army lost the pair of regular season matchups by a combined total of just 9 points.
This should be a relatively high scoring affair. These two teams lead the league in scoring. Colgate has only scored fewer than 68 points (the Patriot League average) 4 times in conference play. So the recipe for Army has to include scoring a lot. That means guards have to hit perimeter shots early to open up Peterson, Mann and Roberts in the paint.
Update PL Tourney bracket after two rounds. pic.twitter.com/Sq67l9dBiy— 𝙱𝚛𝚒𝚐𝚊𝚍𝚎 𝚁𝚎𝚟𝚒𝚎𝚠 (@BrigadeReview) March 3, 2023
The game kicks off at 2:00 PM on CBS Sports with the opposite semifinal on the same network at 4:00 PM. The winner of the Army-Colgate game will host the championship game. The other semifinal involved two upsets with #7 American and #6 Lafayette advancing.
Sunday will be a busy day for Army Sports. In addition to the semifinal game at 2:00 PM, Men’s Lacrosse opens up Patriot League play at Holy Cross starting at 3:00 PM and Baseball plays a doubleheader in Manhattan, KS. Head over to Twitter for updates from all of the usual suspects throughout the day!
*Cover image via Army Website