WEST POINT, N.Y. - Army senior Ella Ellis scored 34 points to lead the Black Knights (13-13, 6-5 PL) to a 77-63 win over Colgate (10-18, 4-7 PL) Wednesday night at Christl Arena. The victory was Army's third straight, and put them over .500 through 11 Patriot League games for the first time in program history.
The Black Knights trailed only once in the game after Colgate scored the first basket. Army built a 17-point lead in the first half, but the Raiders pulled within four eight minutes into the second half. The Black Knights answered with an 8-0 run to re-establish a double-digit lead and led by at least eight for the rest of the game.
Ellis's 34 points marked his first career 30-point game in regulation. His career high of 37 came earlier this season in double overtime at Yale. The Houston native was 11-for-15 from the floor, including 4-for-7 from deep. He also made eight of his 10 free throw attempts.
Junior Josh Herbeck reached double figures with 11 points, including three three-pointers. Freshman Larry Toomey led the team with seven rebounds, while sophomore Maxwell Lenox dished out a game-high five assists.
Murphy Burnatowski scored 19 points for the Raiders, but was just 8-for-20 from the field overall and 1-for-6 from behind the arc. Pat Moore and Mitch Rolls also reached double figures with 13 and 10 points, respectively.
The Black Knights limited the Raiders to 34.4 percent shooting overall and a 19.2 percent rate (5-26) from three-point range. Army outrebounded the Raiders 37-34, but Colgate held a 17-10 edge on the offensive glass. The Black Knights shot 49.0 percent for the game, knocking down 10 three-pointers (10-23).
Colgate scored first, but a three-pointer by Ellis gave Army an early one-point lead. After the Raiders tied the game on a free throw, Ellis and Herbeck buried consecutive triples to start an 11-0 run that gave the Black Knights a 14-3 lead with 14:16 left in the half. Ellis capped the run with his third three-pointer of the half.
The Raiders were able to cut their deficit to eight points twice, both following three-pointers by Rolls, but an 11-2 Army spurt carried the Black Knights to their largest lead of the half at 28-11 with 8:28 left. Herbeck and Ellis scored nine of those points on three-pointers.
Colgate slowly chipped away at the lead, pulling within 11 points at 32-21 as Army suffered through a stretch of six minutes with just four points. A three-point play by Kevin Ferguson put Army's lead back at 14 with 1:20 showing on the clock. The teams exchanged baskets before the Raiders converted an offensive rebound with less than two seconds left to cut Army's halftime advantage to 37-25.
Army was 7-for-13 from deep in the first half, all seven makes by Ellis (4) and Herbeck (3). The Black Knights shot just 5-for-12 from inside the three-point line in the first 20 minutes. The Army defense limited Colgate to 9-for-34 (.265) overall and 4-for-17 (.235) from long range. Ellis led all players with 16 first-half points.
Moore scored the first five points of the second half to cut Army's lead to just seven points, but Ellis ended the momentum with a jumper to put Army on top 39-30. The Raiders kept coming, pulling within five points after four straight by Brandon James with 13:30 to go. Army went back up by eight, but the Raiders scored four straight to make it a 49-45 game with 11:44 showing on the clock.
Army rookie Dylan Cox connected on his only triple of the game to put the Black Knights back on top by seven and start an 8-0 spurt that re-established a double-digit margin. Colgate closed to as close as eight points, but a 9-2 Army run pushed the lead to 15 at 72-57 with 1:24 left. Ellis knocked down five of six foul shots to close out the 14-point victory.
Following Navy's win over American Wednesday night, the Black Knights are in sole possession of fourth place in the Patriot League standings, one game behind Lafayette and one game ahead of the Eagles. Army travels to Bender Arena to face American Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. The Black Knights won the first meeting of the season at West Point.
Game Notes: Army started at least four freshmen for the seventh straight game … Ella Ellis's 34 was Army's highest scoring output against a Patriot League foe since Jarell Brown scored 35 versus Navy on Jan. 27, 2008 … Ellis moved into seventh place on Army's all-time scoring list with 1,482 points … Freshman Kyle Wilson moved into fifth place on Army's freshman scoring list (339), passing all-time leading scorer Kevin Houston (334) … Zach Spiker became just the fourth Army coach and first since Mike Krzyzewski to win at least 50 games in their first four seasons … Army has made 205 three-pointers this season, its third straight year with more than 200 triples … prior to 2010-11 no Army team had made more than 188 three-pointers in a season … the Black Knights' sixth Patriot League win matched the program record … Army can clinch a home game in the Patriot League Tournament with a win at American coupled with a Navy victory over Colgate on Sunday.
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