James Collins scored 21 points, shooting 9 of 10 from the free-throw line in the second half, as Army took over fourth place in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference's North Division with a 75-70 win over Niagara University Tuesday night.
Army, playing without star guard Derrick Canada, who sat out his second straight game for "administrative reasons," sank 11 of 14 free-throw attempts in the final four minutes to move to 7-12 overall, 4-6 in the MAAC. Niagara fell to 4-15, 3-6, and will meet Holy Cross at 6 p.m. Thursday in the first game of a Memorial Auditorium double-header.
Niagara tied the game at 13-13 on Darrin Bossert's 22-foot jumper at 13:43 of the first half but the Eagles never took the lead. Sean Schiano's 10-foot jumper cut Army's lead to 37-32 at halftime.
The Cadets led by nine points early in the second half, but Niagara cut its deficit to 53-51 on Karl Haire's dunk with 12:28 remaining. However, the Eagles got no closer despite the efforts of Patrick Jones. He made a free throw to get Niagara to within 55-52 and a leaning jumper to make it 59-55 with 8:03 left.
Niagara was hampered by the absence of two starters -- Dwayne Daniel (sick) and Tony Newsom (knee injury) -- and Bossert fouled out in the final minute.
"We played with two walk-ons (Keith Tirico and Eric Loewenguth) in the final minutes, so you can see we were out of sync," said Eagles coach Jack Armstrong.
"We lacked poise down the stretch. It's frustrating to give that effort each time and come up short. If we corrected some of the small things we didn't do, we might have won.
"A lot of plays we normally execute, we didn't.
"I have to give our guys credit. We had 10 guys travel to an intense atmosphere and we never quit or never backed down."
Jones led the Eagles with 17 points, while Bossert had 16 points and Darren Brown 12 rebounds. Army's Todd Mattson was credited with nine rebounds.
The Cadets shot 24 of 49 from the field (49 percent), while Niagara hit 28 of 59 (47 percent). Army converted 23 of 31 free throws (74 percent), Niagara 9 of 15 (60 percent).