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Service Academy Basketball Roundup: Army Men Win Sixth Straight

The Army men’s basketball team is on a tear lately, winners of sixth straight and right in the thick of the Patriot League race

NCAA Basketball: Army at Villanova Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

It appeared in mid-January that this season was destined to go down as a failure for the Army men’s basketball team. Sitting at 5-10, with an 0-4 record in conference, things certainly looked bleak from the outside. Having lost each Patriot League game by more than the last, culminating in a lopsided 22 point loss to Boston University, the Black Knights needed a spark.

They have gotten that and more from the very place you would expect to find it, your senior captains. Tommy Funk has been phenomenal over the last three weeks, and he displayed that dominance on Saturday as Army defeated Lehigh 80-79 to win their sixth straight game since that 0-4 start in the Patriot League portion of their schedule. Add in the contributions of Matt Wilson and it has been a recipe for success along the banks of the Hudson.

Funk, who matched his career-high with 26 points last weekend in a defeat of rival Navy, broke that record against the Mountain Hawks by dropping 33 points to go with 7 assists and 5 rebounds on Saturday. Wilson chipped in 21 and 9, including 13 in the second half, and Army survived in Stabler Arena for the first time since 2015.

Now sitting at 6-4 in conference, and coming off their first victory over Bucknell since 2014, Army is right in the thick of things heading into the second half of conference play, and they will get a rematch with the Terriers of Boston, the last team to defeat them on Wednesday in an important tilt for seeding.

The six game winning streak is the longest ever by Army in Patriot League play, and their longest streak as a team since the 2006-2007 season. They currently sit in a four-way tie for third in the Patriot League, behind Colgate and Boston.

Army Women’s Basketball (5-16 Overall, last in Patriot League at 1-9):

It has not been the same string of luck for the Black Knights’ women, as they have now lost 5 in a row, and have a lone win against Holy Cross so far in conference play. That included two losses this week by an average of 30 points, dropping a 77-46 contest on the road to Bucknell and a 94-65 loss to Lehigh at home on Saturday.

Lindsey Scamman continues to have the most dominant presence on the team, averaging 12.5 points and 8.7 rebounds per game, but the loss of standout Madison Hovren from last year’s team continues to show up as Army can’t seem to find consistent scoring or defense in 2020.

Scamman continued her solid play, however, against the Mountain Hawks, picking up a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds.

Up next for Army is a Saturday contest against American at home!

Navy Men’s Basketball (12-9 overall, tied for third at 6-4 in Patriot League):

The Navy Men continued their solid season thus far in the Patriot League by splitting a pair of games this week with Holy Cross and Loyola. Those teams, however, are two of the three cellar dwellers in conference, and I’m sure the Mids were hoping for a clean sweep on the week.

They find themselves right in the thick of things like Army, and it is setting up for an exciting second half of conference play, as there are 7 teams within 3 games of each other in the standings.

Navy was led by a dominant performance from senior Evan Wieck on Wednesday, as he went a perfect 10-10 from the field for 24 points to help the Mids to a 81-66 victory.

They were unable to keep that magic going against the Greyhounds, however, as they were defeated 79-73 on Saturday night.

Trailing for most of the night, the Mids kept fighting, closing to within one behind a John Carter, Jr. three with 7 minutes to play, and again cutting the lead to just three on a Cam Davis shot with just 1:42 to play, but the could never overcome the deficit.

Davis and Wieck continued to lead the way, but poor shooting from beyond the arc told the story in this one. Navy shot just 18.5% from three while Loyola knocked down 53% of their attempts.

Navy will be back in action this week in two critical contests, taking on fellow third-place team American at home before traveling to Hamilton, NY to take on league-leading Colgate on Saturday!

Navy Women’s Basketball (7-14 overall, 2-8 in Patriot League):

It has been a similarly tough season for the Navy Women, as they were unable to build momentum off of their two-game winning streak this week, dropping contests to Holy Cross and Loyola and falling to 2-8 in the Patriot League.

Coming off wins against Boston and Army last week, it looked like the Mids might be turning the corner on conference play, but two more tough losses keep them near the bottom of the pack, just ahead of the Black Knights.

M.K. Ulasewicz continued to pace Navy, scoring 12 against Holy Cross, but she was the only player in double figures in the contest. They fought valiantly against Loyola, trading blows in the third quarter and climbing back into it in the fourth before falling 50-44. They were actually up 44-38 with 5:06 to go, but were held without another basket the rest of the way as the Greyhounds surged ahead to win.

Navy will take on Colgate at home on Saturday in a tough game against the league’s second-best team.

Air Force Men’s Basketball (9-13 overall, 3-7 in Mountain West):

Life hasn’t been much better for the service academy team’s out in Colorado, as the Falcons have been on a similar slide, dropping their last four contests in conference play to fall to ninth in the Mountain West.

This past week saw them lose to Fresno State at home, who came into the game having only won two conference matchups. Four of Air Force’s five starters got into double digits in scoring, with Sid Tomes leading the way with 16 points, but they couldn’t overcome the combination of New Williams’ 25 points and Nate Grimes’ 21 points to win.

That loss comes on the heels of a defeat last weekend to San Jose State, who also came in with only two wins in conference before defeating the Falcons.

Things won’t get any easier this week for Air Force, as they travel to Nevada to take on the Wolfpack before welcoming the number 4 team in the country to Colorado Springs on Saturday when undefeated San Diego State comes to town!

Air Force Women’s Basketball (4-17 overall, 2-8 in Mountain West):

The Falcons’ women have not faired any better, losers of six straight and second from the bottom in the Mountain West.

They also took on the Bulldogs of Fresno State this week, and it was a tall task for the team, as Fresno is undefeated in the Mountain West and 17-4 overall on the year. If anything, you have to be impressed with the fight of Air Force, as they fell behind in the first half, but actually outscored the Bulldogs throughout the final two quarters, ultimately falling 61-52.

They were led on the day by sophomore Riley Snider, who scored 16 points and helped rally the Falcons multiple times throughout the night. The All-MWC freshmen team player from last year has combined with junior Kaelin Immel to provide a nice one-two punch this season, but they will need to step up even further or build contributions from other players if they hope to turn things around in the second half of Mountain West play.

The kind of determination will serve them well in that venture, but so far, there hasn’t been much indication that they will be able to compete for a conference title this year.