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| Sunday, December 21, 2014



Season long struggles continue for Eagles against Army




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By JARED ANGLE / THE EAGLE
Stephen Lumpkins makes a shot against Bucknell Jan. 30. The Eagles fell to the Bison 56-55 on a buzzer beater.

The Eagles have played 810 minutes this season, but summed up their season in less than 20 seconds against Army.

On Jan. 26 against the Black Knights, the Eagles managed two turnovers and missed a shot close to the basket in less than half a minute. There are three issues that have plagued AU (7-13, 2-3 PL) this season: their second-half performances, turnovers and an inability to finish close to the basket.

AU went into the half up one against Army (9-11, 2-3 PL), but then the big three struck. First, the second half started. Then, less than 20 seconds into the second half, the Eagles’ one-point lead turned into a four-point deficit. The Black Knights extended their lead as high as 16 points and never looked back, winning 77-64.

AU’s second-half woes go back much further than Jan. 26. Including their games against Army and Navy, the Eagles have trailed by single digits at halftime six times this season, been tied once and have led nine times. In those 16 games, the Eagles are 7-9. In the seven games that AU tied or trailed by single digits, the team is 0-7.

In those seven games, AU never trailed by more than four points.

In their Jan. 23 matchup against Navy (7-14, 1-4) the Eagles mounted a 10-point lead against the Midshipmen at the half. Coming into the game, they had only coughed up one halftime lead this season. Thanks to five John Schoof 3-pointers in the second half, that number stayed at one. In total, Schoof poured in a career-high 27 points and went 8-of-10 from deep. The strong second half in Bender Arena resulted in a 72-49 win.

Momentum is extremely fickle, and turnovers and an inability to get the ball into the basket from close range will make gaining momentum almost impossible. With nine games remaining, momentum is precious to a 7-13 Eagle team.

The next three games for AU are extremely important if they want to get into a good rhythm heading into the final stretch of Patriot League play. All three are in Bender Arena, with the first two against the best teams in the conference. After facing Bucknell on Jan.30, the Eagles will battle Lafayette Feb.2.

sports@theeagleonline.com