KAITLIN BROWN / THE EAGLE
A crowd of 2,184 was on hand for Phil Bender Day to see the Eagles defeat the Army Black Knights 67-55 Jan. 21.
Troy Brewer led the way by scoring 19 of his 22 points in the second half, as AU remained undefeated at Bender Arena.
“It’s hard to win games on the road, so for [Army] to come here, with the fans we have, it definitely created a tough atmosphere for them,” Brewer said. “Having the fans support us, it encouraged us and helps us, especially when we have different hot streaks during the game. It’s all about winning, and the fans here definitely helped us.”
While leading scorer Charles Hinkle was held to only eight points, the Eagles (13-7, 4-1 PL) were able to stay one step ahead of the Black Knights (9-11, 2-3 PL) thanks to Brewer and a career-high 12 points from sophomore Tony Wroblicky.
“[With Wroblicky’s] size and the way they were playing defensively, we tried to do a couple things and he was able to convert some buckets around the rim,” AU Head Coach Jeff Jones said. “But then obviously Troy Brewer, his shooting gave us some breathing room and that’s certainly welcome.”
Neither team found its rhythm early on, as the Eagles led 9-8 with less than eight minutes remaining in the first half.
But AU hit its stride following the media timeout and never looked back.
Blake Jolivette (eight points) helped spark a 17-6 run for the Eagles that put them in front 26-14 at the half.
Army finished the first half shooting 5-27 from the floor.
“Early in the game may not have been a pretty thing for the people watching, but both teams were really getting after it,” Jones said.
The second half belonged to Brewer, who went 5-7 from 3-point range and ended the day shooting 72 percent from the floor.
In a four-minute span the senior, who has been hampered by injuries, made four consecutive 3-pointers that helped extend AU’s lead from 47-36 to 64-40.
The Eagles held the Black Knights to 15 points below their season average on the afternoon. Although Army had three scorers in double figures, it only shot 35 percent for the game and went 1-10 from long range in the first half.
“It’s two games in a row with outstanding crowds, and this was about the only game we’ve had where students have been out in force,” Jones said. “So hopefully, they had a good time and come back to see this team. We’re going to need them.”
AU will return to the court Jan. 25 in Lewisburg, Pa., to take on Bucknell University, the defending Patriot League champions.
The Bison sit atop the conference with a 5-0 mark in PL play and are riding a 15-game winning streak against conference opponents.