CALGARY, Alta — On Monday night, conference tournaments officially got under way, as the Atlantic Sun quarter-finals took place down south.
To the surprise of seemingly nobody, the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles won handily over the Stetson Hatters, while the Kennesaw State Owls and the USC Upstate Spartans played arguably the game of the night across the NCAA.
On Tuesday, another conference got their post-season started. The Patriot League had their two first-round games on tap for Tuesday night, and they followed on the trend that the Atlantic Sun set the night before.
There was one close contest, and one that wasn’t so close. In the end, the teams who were favourites to win came out victorious, providing some more excitement to the final three rounds.
Here’s everything you need to know from Tuesday’s action in the Patriot League.
#8 Army West Point Black Knights – 74
#9 American U. Eagles – 58
In West Point, NY, the Black Knights of Army West Point pulled away in the second half for the 16-point win over American, 74-58.
The first half was a tight affair, and the home side held a slim one-point lead at the break. Luke Morrison hit a pair of three pointers in the first six minutes of the second half to help the Black Knights build on their halftime lead, and they never looked back in the second.
For the Black Knights, the stars of the show were guards Jordan Fox and Tommy Funk. On 7-of-11 shooting overall, and 5-of-9 shooting from three point range, Fox scored a game-high 23 points to pace the offensive attack for Army West Point.
Funk chipped in with 9 points and 11 assists, while only committing one turnover.
Delante Jones and Charlie Jones scored a team-high 14 points apiece in the loss for American (8-22), who saw their season come to an end Tuesday night.
With the victory, Army West Point (13-18) heads on the road to take on the regular season champion Bucknell Bison in the conference quarter-finals on Thursday.
#7 Loyola (MD) Greyhounds – 67
#10 Lafayette Leopards – 64
In comparison to the other game, this one came down to the final few minutes. With the Greyhounds’ season on the line and his team trailing by one with under three minutes to play, James Fives stepped to the free throw line and showcased his nerves of steel.
He hit a pair of free throws to give Loyola (MD) a 65-64 lead, and they managed to hold Lafayette off the scoreboard the rest of the way to notch the 67-64 come-from-behind victory in front of their home crowd.
Lafayette found themselves up by seven points with 9:50 to play in the game, and they led by as many as nine in the first half. However, it was not in the cards, and their season came to an end.
Jarred Jones led the way for the Greyhounds, recording a game-high 21 points to go along with 9 rebounds. Cam Gregory recorded a double-double of 11 points and 11 rebounds in the win.
On the flip side, four starters for Lafayette (9-21) scored in double-figures. Matt Klinewski scored a game-high 15 points, while Nick Lindner etched his name into the record books in the Patriot League.
Lindner became the first player in Lafayette history, and just the second in Patriot League history, to record 1,500 points and 500 assists over his career.
With the win, Loyola (MD) (15-15) will make the trip to Boston for their quarter-final matchuup on Thursday night against the Boston U. Terriers.
All four quarter-final games can be seen on the Patriot League Network on Thursday.
– T. Bennett