WEST POINT, N.Y. - Freshman Kyle Wilson scored a career-high 25 points to lead the Army men's basketball team to an 85-76 victory over Binghamton in the Black Knights' home opener at Christl Arena Friday afternoon. Army has won its last two games and stands at 2-1, while the Bearcats dropped to 0-4.
"Kyle Wilson was good today, but that's no surprise if you've seen us practice," head coach Zach Spiker said. "He definitely has the ability to put the ball in the basket. Kyle gave us the spark we needed tonight."
Wilson drilled nine of his 11 field goal tries, including a perfect 3-for-3 from three-point range. Junior Josh Herbeck scored 15 points on five three-pointers (5-for-7), and senior Ella Ellis added 12 points despite a 3-for-10 shooting day. Ellis led the Black Knights with five rebounds and handed out three assists. Rookies Matt Gramling and Larry Toomey also dished out three assists. Toomey scored nine points in 17 minutes off the bench.
"We moved the ball really well tonight," Wilson said. "Our point guards did a great job pushing the ball up the floor and finding the open man. We also rebounded pretty well which helped."
Four of Binghamton's five starters reached double figures led by Jordan Reed's 18 points. Rayner Moquete added 16 points, including a 4-for-4 showing from three-point range. Taylor Johnston and Jimmy Gray each contributed 12 markers. Reed pulled down a game-high eight rebounds, just missing his second straight double-double.
Both teams shot better than 50 percent for the game. Army hit 29-of-56 (.518) from the field, while the Bearcats were 27-for-53 (.509). The Black Knights were 11-for-23 from deep. Army outrebounded the Bearcats, 33-30, and used a 26-17 second-chance advantage to help come away with the victory.
"Our focus needs to be on defense," Spiker said. "You're not going to win too many games when you allow a team to shoot 50 percent from the field."
Binghamton scored first, but Herbeck answered with the first of his three, three-pointers in the first half to give Army a one-point lead. After the Bearcats scored to regain a one-point edge, the Black Knights went on a 19-7 run to claim their largest lead of the half at 22-11 with 11:51 left in the first half. Army hit five three-pointers during the spurt, including two by Herbeck and two by Wilson.
The Bearcats quickly got back into it with back-to-back three-pointers by Rayner Moquete and Jimmy Gray that made it a five-point game. Army scored six of the next eight points to stretch their lead back to nine points at 28-19 with 8:01 to go. Binghamton scored the next five points to make it a four-point game at 28-24.
The Black Knights and Wilson answered with an 11-1 run to take a 39-25 lead with 1:33 left in the half. Wilson scored eight points during the run. Binghamton scored the final four points of the half, and Army went into halftime with a 39-29 lead.
Wilson scored a career-high 16 points in the first half to lead all players. Army shot 15-for-29 (.517) overall and was 8-for-16 (.500) in the first 20 minutes. Gray led the Bearcats with eight points in the first half.
Army scored the first five points of the second half to take a 15-point lead with 16:55 left, but the Bearcats answered with five straight of their own to trim their deficit to 44-34. Wilson and Plomb went to work, scoring eight of the next 11 points to push the Black Knights' advantage back to 15 points at 52-37 with 13:27 on the second half clock.
Army led 56-40 following a three-pointer by Ellis when Binghamton went on a 12-5 run to trim Army's deficit to nine points with 9:48 left in the game. Three straight free throws extended Army's lead back to 12 points, but a three-pointer by Moquete pulled the Bearcats back within single digits at 70-61 with 5:48 left.
The Black Knights were able to rebuild a 14-point lead at 75-61, but the Bearcats refused to give in and scored nine of the next 12 points to pull with eight points. A three-point play by Brown capped the rally. Ellis stemmed the tide with a runner in the lane to put Army back on top by 10, and the Black Knights' lead remained at a minimum of nine points, the final margin.
Army has won five straight non-conference home games and have scored win in their last five home openers.
Army starts a two-game road trip on Tuesday, Nov. 20 at St. Francis (N.Y.). Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. The Black Knights scored a 79-70 win over the Terriers at West Point last season.
Game Notes: Army used the same starting five of Dylan Cox, Herbeck, Ellis, Tanner Plomb and Jordan Springer for the third straight game … the Black Knights are now 6-2 in their last eight non-conference games … Army has won three straight against the Bearcats and leads the all-time series, 5-2 … Army has scored at least 80 points in each of its last two games, a first since the 2010-11 season … the Black Knights have won six straight when scoring at least 80 points.