Win over Buffalo lifts Army to first 3-0 start in five years

December 3rd, 2020 | Army and Community Sports
The Army West Point men’s basketball team continued its hot start, defeating Buffalo 78-74 in the team’s final game at Bubbleville on Saturday at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. The win gives the Black Knights their first 3-0 start since the 2015-16 season. (Above) Forwards senior Alex King and freshman Charlie Peterson celebrate after the Army win. Photo by Johnnie Izquierdo/Courtesy of Army Athletic Communications

By Nick Lovera
Army Athletic Communications

The Army West Point men’s basketball team continued its hot start, defeating Buffalo 78-74 in the team’s final game at Bubbleville on Saturday at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.
The win gives the Black Knights their first 3-0 start since the 2015-16 season.
“I could not be happier and more impressed by our guys and the toughness and resiliency they showed today,” Army West Point Head Coach Jimmy Allen said. “Buffalo is a terrific basketball program. They won 20 games last season and were picked near the top of the MAC this year, so for us to play like we did today in our third game in four days, I am super excited for our team and the guys are pumped.”
The Black Knights continue to see contributions throughout their lineup, as four different players recorded double-digit points in the contest. Junior guard Josh Caldwell was key for Army in this one, leading the team with a career-high 19 points, 10 rebounds and five steals, recording his fourth career double-double.
Senior forward Alex King posted 10 of his 16 points in the second half, and was instrumental in turning around a big run from Buffalo in the second half.
After a 14-0 run gave Buffalo the lead, King stopped the run with a big three-pointer and gave Army the lead again when Caldwell found him driving to the basket for the dunk. Army held Buffalo scoreless for the final 4:31 of the game, closing out the win with an 8-0 run.
“We played extremely well today,” Caldwell said. “We knew going into the game that Buffalo was going to be a good opponent. We wanted to beat them in transition like we did last year. We did very well in rebounding and getting defensive stops when we needed them and that is why we won the game.”
“Josh has consistently been our best player throughout the fall,” Allen said. “He plays so hard and that always impacts the basketball game. Sometimes you look at the statistics and you don’t always see high numbers, but if you look at the plus-minus, his team is always winning. I can’t say enough about the player he is.”
After relying on its three-point play in Friday’s win over Central Connecticut, Army scored 50 points in the paint on Saturday and added 14 points at the free throw line.
“Bubbleville was a very unique experience for us,” Caldwell said. “The event was very well ran and the staff was great. As a team, we are thankful for the experience to go out and play basketball.”

Highlights and notes
• Army’s win over Buffalo gives the team its first 3-0 start since the 2015-16 season. The Black Knights’ last 4-0 start came a season prior, when they won their first five games.
• For the second game in a row, Army’s leading scorer set a new career-high in points, Caldwell’s previous high was 16 in last season’s meeting with Buffalo.
Freshman forward Charlie Peterson was a perfect 5-for-5 from the field, recording his first 10-point game of his career.
After missing the 2019-20 season with injury, junior guard Aaron Duhart played a big part in Army’s early lead in the contest. The junior scored seven points in the first half with two rebounds and an assist.
The Black Knights shot over 50% from the field for the third consecutive game.

How it happened
First half
• Army scored the first five points of the game, with Caldwell converting on a three-point play to get the offense started.
• Senior guard Tucker Blackwell added one of his own, driving to the basket and drawing the foul to give Army a 10-4 lead.
• Fourteen of Army’s first 23 points came on fast breaks, as up-tempo play continued to be key for the Black Knights.
• Buffalo fought back to cut the lead to 25-24, when senior guard Lonnie Grayson knocked down Army’s first three of the game to give the Black Knights a 28-24 lead.
• Duhart made an impact on both sides of the ball for Army in the half, posting a team-leading 7 points, with an assist, a rebound and a steal.
• Buffalo began to heat up from the field late in the half, knocking down 5-6 shots to jump out to a 38-34 lead.
• Army turned the tide to close out the half, hitting their final three shots to take a 44-42 lead into the break.
• Ronaldo Segu led Buffalo with 12 points, three rebounds and two assists in the half.
• Both teams shot an even 50% from the field in the half.

Second half
• Army got off to a fast start in the second half, scoring eight of the first 10 points after the break to take a 52-33 lead.
• The Bulls went on a big 14-0 run to jump back in front 62-54.
• The Black Knights chipped away at the deficit, knocking down 5-6 shots and jumped back in front when Caldwell found a driving King for the slam.
• The teams continued to trade buckets down the stretch, sitting even at 74-74 into the final two minutes.
• Army held Buffalo off the scoreboard for the final four and a half minutes of the game, closing out the game on a 6-0 run to win 76-74.