Tested (thankfully) in a not so meaningless game.
You got the feeling standing in line to buy a ticket ($4 senior special) that this wouldn’t be just another game. In fact, many labeled it as meaningless beforehand. Why, I don’t know. We were gunning for a school record season-win total and facing a team we knew would play hard (they are soldiers, after all) and one might see a week from now in the playoffs. Anyway, it sure wasn’t meaningless for the seniors at the USMA. It was their night and at exactly 3:55pm you got a taste of the excitement and fun that was to follow. It was then that the three graduating seniors were introduced and, along with their families, took center stage at half-court. Their bios were read and when you heard where each was headed – one to Infantry, one to Armor and the last to the Quartermaster corps – you couldn’t help but feel proud and join the standing ovation as these true student athletes left the court. All 1755 did – including every Lehigh fan I could see. A few minutes later the national anthem would play and there they stood – all 20 of the Army players dressed in black and gold standing at attention and stretched across the court – to honor our flag. Lump in your throat time. If you haven’t been to one of the academies on senior day – or any day for that matter – I suggest you put in on your bucket list. You won’t regret it.
The game is well-chronicled in each of the stories below.
Some personal observations:
Adams picks up start over ailing (ankle) Greiner who surprisingly – to me anyway – gets into the game for 8 minutes (3pts, 2 boards, and 2 turnovers). Not himself and a concern going forward.
MM picks up 2 quick (first 2 min. 7 seconds) personal fouls and sits for great stretches – end up with 25 minutes of playing time. Corey Schaefer adequate – put not great – in his 19 minutes. Does pull down 3 rebounds yet surprisingly has an equal number of turnovers.
AD’s defense is improving – albeit for what was a short (5 minute)glimpse of it. Clued to Simmons during the one Army shot-clock violation. Nice to see.
BJ takes a charge in the lane in front of the Lehigh bench only to be called with a block. Head hits floor, team stand, fans stunned as BJ is escorted to the end of bench. Not another concussion! This kid has played through so much. He would appear later in the game and is apparently ready to contribute down the line.
CJ exhibits all his moves (step-backs, crossovers, fade-aways, you name it) in scoring 26 while dropping 11 field goals despite Simmons’ wallpaper coverage. Would have paid regular price admission to see that! He does, however, miss a 3 to win it all in regulations (identical situation to BU game) but dishes a perfect pass to Adams who would close out the OT period with his own three. Oh yeah, CJ would have 6 boards, 5 assists and 2 steals on the day.
The good Doctor got in the faces of his players more than once today – first at the initial media break down 5-10 and later following 7-0 and 9-0 Army runs. Sitting 15 feet away, the red-faced leader could be heard clearly. Believe me, the man known for his eloquent prose, left nothing to interpretation.
When Army hits their 3’s, as they did yesterday in canning 9, they can be dangerous. Just ask Navy and Colgate who each dropped games to Army when the cadets dropped 13 and 9 on each, respectively. AU take note. You’re up next.
Offensive lapses and an uncharacteristic number of TO’s (20) was nearly our undoing in a game that you could sense would be won by the team who had the ball last. All in all, it was a fun game for the casual fan to watch but not for a Lehigh fan looking for precision play on the eve of the playoffs.