Men’s basketball takes down West Point with commanding road win

Michael Caruso, Contributing Writer

The Orange and Blue pulled off an impressive win over the Army West Point Black Knights on Jan. 28 in West Point, N.Y., with a final score of 96-75. Kimbal Mackenzie ’19 had a game-high 23 points to aid in the dominating road performance, extending the Bison’s win streak to five straight, a season best. This was the team’s highest point total against Army since a 98-72 win back in 1994.

The Bison got off to a strong start, going on a 17-5 run. With solid offensive performances from Nana Foulland ’18, Stephen Brown ’18 — who had a career-high of four three-pointers — and Mackenzie, the Black Knights just couldn’t find an answer. Avi Toomer ’20 also had a very efficient game with eight points, four rebounds, three assists, and three steals with no turnovers. Foulland and Zach Thomas ’18 combined for 36 points on 16-for-22 shooting. The starting five as a whole shot over 62 percent from the field on 32-for-51 shooting.

The up-tempo offense forced Army to switch back and forth on the defensive side, going from zone to man to a press defense towards the end of the game. Regardless of Army’s defensive set, the team was constantly looking for the open man and finding gaps in the Army defense throughout the game.

“We all played together and played with a purpose; we moved with a purpose and moved the ball with a purpose, which helped us set up open shots,” Toomer said.

Though a buzzer-beater layup from Mackenzie stole the momentum for the Bison to close out the first half, the Black Knights opened the second half up with an 9-2 run. However, Foulland’s constant physical play on defense and rebounding put a quick stop to that, as he finished with seven total rebounds to go along with his 19 points.

Starting and ending the game with a stout defensive effort is the mindset the Bison have in order to be successful.

“Defense is our priority. When we play well, it’s because of our defense, so to start the game off well defensively and to continue to play good defense throughout the game is what allowed us to be successful tonight,” Mackenzie said. The strong defensive play at Army handed the second best scoring team in the Patriot League a loss by over 20 points.

This win for the Bison has earned them nine wins in their last ten outings. It is also their sixth straight road win. The Bison stand at 17-6 overall and 9-1 in the league. They currently lead the Patriot League standings by two games. After returning home to Sojka Pavilion to take on American on Feb. 1, the Orange and Blue will host Holy Cross on Feb. 6 at 7 p.m.

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