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Patriot League Weekend Review: American, Army Survive Close Calls

The top of the Patriot League is pretty well set, but that doesn't mean on any given day they can't get a scare from anybody in the league.

Colgate needs to figure out what is going on and get a win or two, fast.
Colgate needs to figure out what is going on and get a win or two, fast.
Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

If you told me going into Saturday that Kyle Wilson and Tanner Plomb would combine to shoot 9-for-27 from the field and 1-for-5 from three, and that the Black Knights would still win, I would have been less than optimistic about your mental state. But that's exactly what happened when Army met Navy in Annapolis on Saturday.

It took some late heroics from Wilson, who was held to a conference-low 12 points by the Midshipmen, for Army to finally pull away from Ed DeChellis' bunch. Wilson scored eight of Army's final nine points in the final 4:36 of the game which was enough to keep Navy at arm's length and come away with its fourth win in as many contests.

After a disappointing effort against BU, the Mids looked like a totally different team against Army. Michael Brown gave them 15 points and five rebounds off the bench and likely earned himself a bigger share of the minutes going forward. Brandon Venturini and Worth Smith shot a combined 7-for-26 as it appears the Navy brass tightened the rims a little too much going into the weekend.

The Black Knights of the Hudson are now 4-0, and the Ben Miraski victory lap lasts for another weekend.

Colgate has had a rough couple weeks. The Raiders were expected to be one of the top teams in the Patriot League, but after playing the other four teams expected to be at or near the top, Matt Langel's team sits at the bottom of the conference at 0-4. Saturday was a nice effort, however, as they gave American one the more competitive games it has seen in conference play.

For more on this game, read my recap from yesterday afternoon.

This has always been one of the most competitive Patriot League matchups going back to the Ralph Willard years in Worcester. Saturday was no exception as Holy Cross and Bucknell battled until the final whistle before an ill-advised final possession from the Crusaders gave the Bison an important conference win.

Trailing by two with 16 seconds to play, Holy Cross ran a three-man weave outside the three-point line and ultimately settled for a Justin Burrell heave from about 25 feet. What should have happened was some sort of action that got Holy Cross going towards the basket and gave Malcolm Miller or Dave Dudzinski an opportunity to tie the game. Instead, Dudzinski wasn't even a part of the play and Miller (17 points, 9 rebounds, 2/2 from 3PT) was left off the ball on the most important possession.

The Crusaders have the talent to crack the top four of the conference, but I've become increasingly worried about their consistency and believe that much of that could come down to coaching. Milan Brown has made strides since he got here, but now that Holy Cross is no longer atoning for the Sean Kearney debacle, the new administration should look very seriously at a new direction. By that same token, HC could come out and win a bunch of games and be a top seed. Everything is in play, and that's the problem.

Other Patriot League Action

  • Boston University also remained undefeated with their 89-78 win over the Lafayette Leopards. Mo Watson finished with 14 points, 9 assists, 5 rebounds and 2 steals for another complete effort. John Papale got himself open a ton, connecting on 4-of-9 from three for 16 points. Dan Trist continued his recent hot streak with 19 points, but Lafayette falls to 0-4 in league play.
  • Dylon Cormier scored 25 points for Loyola and his team held on to knock off the Lehigh Mountain Hawks 72-68. In a matchup of two of the best scoring guards in the conference, Cormier out-dueled Mackey McKnight (17 points) and lifted Loyola to another win in its first season in the Patriot League.

Patriot League Standings

Teams Record (Conference) Record (Overall)
American 4-0 8-7
Army 4-0 8-7
Boston University 4-0 11-6
Bucknell 3-1 8-7
Loyola-Maryland 2-2 7-8
Holy Cross 1-3 7-9
Lehigh 1-3 8-9
Navy 1-3 6-9
Colgate 0-4 6-9
Lafayette 0-4 4-11