Jan. 2, 2010
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- Navy used a 12-3 run midway through the second half to break open a tight game and run past Elon, 79-73, in men's basketball action at Alumni Hall on Saturday night in front of 2,482 fans. The win was Navy's second in a row and improves Navy's record to 6-8 overall. Elon falls to 3-10 overall.
The attendance was Navy's largest for a non-conference game since Nov. 18, 2005, vs. Georgetown (4,104).
Navy led 39-30 at halftime and still led 47-39 when Elon went on an 8-0 run to tie the game at 47 with 12:50 to play. However, junior guard Greg Brown came off the bench, connecting on three three-pointers and a pair of free throws to fuel a 12-3 run and a 59-50 lead with 9:01 to play.
Brown scored all 11 of his career-high total in a two-minute, 11-second span to put Navy back in control of the contest.
"That was obviously a big moment during the game and Greg shot the ball with confidence," said Navy head coach Billy Lange, who won his 75th game at Navy. "He has been playing with a lot more confidence lately and he can really bring us some spark off the bench."
"Those were big points for us," said senior guard Chris Harris, who led Navy with 22 points and three steals. "It really got us going again and gave us a big energy boost. Our bench is starting to play well with a lot of confidence."
Navy then maintained the lead between four and 11 points the rest of the half and the Midshipmen were able to close out its non-conference home slate with a 5-2 record.
"The flow of the game was how I thought it would be. Elon is a very efficient offensive team and there was a very good flow all game long," said Lange. "I thought we gutted it out against a pretty good team. We got some big stops late and really executed well offensively. The last couple of games, the ball has moved really well on the offensive end."
Navy played solid basketball in the first half against the Phoenix. Elon led 13-7 early on, but the Midshipmen answered with a 10-0 run sparked by five points by Harris and a Jordan Sugars
three-pointer. Navy slowly expanded the lead to as many as 13 points (37-24), before settling for a 39-30 halftime advantage.
Navy shot 44.1 percent in the first half and had just five turnovers to Elon's 10. The Midshipmen had 15 points off turnovers in the first half.
"We are starting to get a sense of what we can do, and a lot of it has to do with our bench," said Lange. "We have some pretty good speed and athleticism on the bench and they showed that tonight. The ball spread really well tonight and the guys are really playing on their own."
A big key in the contest was getting Elon big man Adam Constantine in foul trouble. The Phoenix' leading scorer at almost 13 points a game was limited to just six points in 26 minutes of action, before fouling out late in the contest.
"It was a big difference without him in the game. He can really control a game with his defense," said Lange. "We felt if we could get him in foul trouble, he would get tentative and we could take advantage."
For the contest, the Midshipmen shot 41.7 percent (25-of-60) from the field, 41.7 percent (10-of-24) from three-point range and 67.9 percent (19-fo-28) from the free throw line. Elon shot 48.1 percent (26-of-54) from the field, 50.0 percent (10-of-20) from three-point range and 68.8 percent (11-of-16) from the free throw line.
Both teams had 36 rebounds, while Navy tied a season low with just 12 turnovers to Elon's 18.
"We are gaining some momentum and learning how to win. We are learning how we are going to be successful," said Lange. "I like our enthusiasm and the guys are enjoying themselves on the floor. Even during our losses, we learned a lot about our team and what it takes to be successful."
Harris led Navy with 22 points, his seventh 20-point game of the season. Harris has scored in double-figures in all 14 games this year and moved past Kylor Whitaker (1983-86) into 14th place on the school's career scoring list with 1,284 points.
Sugars added 19 points and 10 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the season. Sugars is now averaging 15.7 ppg and 8.4 rpg. The duo of Harris and Sugars have been in double figures together in 10 of the 14 games this year.
"I'm just trying to be more patient and let the game come to me," said Harris. "It obviously helps that Jordan is playing great and does a lot of good things. It just gives opponents more to worry about on the offensive end.
"Subconciously early on, I might have put some added pressure on myself thinking that I had to score a lot for us to be successful," added Harris. "Now that Jordan and Romeo and others have stepped us, the pressure is off, and it makes defenses having to focus on others as well."
Romeo Garcia had an outstanding game with 15 points, seven rebounds, four assists, two blocks and one steal. Garcia was 5-of-8 from the field and 2-of-3 from three-point range. Greg Brown chipped in with a career-high 11 rebounds and five rebounds in just 14 minutes of action.
The win ends Navy's non-conference home slate at 5-2. Since the beginning of last year, Navy went 12-2 against non-conference teams at Alumni Hall.
Navy will close out non-conference play on Monday night at Howard, beginning at 7:00 pm, in Washington, D.C. The game will be aired on WNAV (1430 AM), with Pete Medhurst handling the call.
# GO NAVY #