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Late Shot Comes Up Short as Presbyterian Escapes Navy, 60-58

Romeo Garcia grabbed six offensive rebounds (eight total) and had five points and three steals in the loss to Presbyterian.

Romeo Garcia grabbed six offensive rebounds (eight total) and had five points and three steals in the loss to Presbyterian.

Jan. 2, 2011

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- Jordan Sugars' three-pointer at the buzzer was off the mark to help Presbyterian College escape with a 60-58 victory over the Navy men's basketball team on Sunday afternoon at Alumni Hall. The Mids fell to 4-11 overall with just one non-conference game left on the 2010-11 slate.

Presbyterian, which owns wins over Auburn, Wake Forest and Princeton, improved to 7-8 on the season.

Navy tied the game at 57 for the first time since being tied at four on a Sugars three-pointer with 4:22 left. Presbyterian then took a two-point lead on a Khalid Mutakabbir layup with 3:10 left. The Mids then had five shots, including an open lay-up by J.J. Avila (Fr. / McAllen, Texas) that spun in and out about three times, to tie or take the lead in the next two minutes to remain trailing by two.

A free throw by O.J. Avworo (Sr. / Houston, Texas) cut the lead to 59-58, before a free throw by Mutakabbir gave the Blue Hose a two-point advantage with 30 seconds left.

The Midshipmen came down and Sugars had a good look at a three-pointer with 18 seconds left that was corralled by Romeo Garcia (Sr. / Cypress, Texas). The Mids then called a time-out and ran a play for Sugars, whose last-second three-pointer was off the mark. Brennan Wyatt (Fr. / Raleigh, N.C.) chased down the rebound, but his putback came after the horn handing the Mids their fifth straight loss.

"This would have been as good of win as any we have had as well as Presbyterian is playing right now," said Navy head coach Billy Lange. "We didn't get it. Unfortunately we lost, but I am very proud of our guys' courage. I thought we played a great game other than missing some shots. We have some things execution-wise that we have to get better at that would have helped us some. I am very proud of our team and am encouraged by the progression we are making with our toughness."

The Mids jumped out to an early 9-4 lead just four minutes into the game, but the Blue Hose used a 13-0 run to take a 17-9 advantage with 12:03 to play. The Midshipmen would trail between three and 10 for the remainder of the first half, with Presbyterian holding a 36-29 advantage.

Navy would score the first five points of the second half to trim the margin to two (36-34), but the Blue Hose would hold the lead and held a 55-48 cushion with 8:02 left. Navy went on a 9-2 run to tie the game at 57, setting up the finish.

"Obviously, we amped it up on defense tonight and we did the things we worked on in practice. We felt it was a good team effort today," said junior guard Jordan Sugars. "We definitely improved from the other night against Long Island and did a lot of encouraging things."

"We did a lot of very good things on both ends of the floor. There are a ton of things to be optimistic about after tonight. We rebounded well holding them to two offensive rebounds in the second half, we forced turnovers, we took care of the ball, we shared the ball well," said Lange. "We have to keep fighting through. I feel bad for our guys. They did everything we asked them to do, just couldn't get the ball in the basket."

Navy would finish the game 18-of-52 (.346) from the floor and just 6-of-25 (.240) from the three-point line. Over the last three games, Navy is just 13-of-62 (.210) from beyond the three-point arc. The Mids also shot 16-of-22 (.727), including 12-of-13 in the second half, from the free throw line. Navy was guilty of 16 turnovers and was outrebounded, 31-25.

Sugars led Navy with 18 points, seven rebounds and four steals. Avila added 13 points, three assists, three steals and one rebound. Avworo scored nine points with four rebounds and three assists and Wyatt led the Mids with four assists. Romeo Garcia (Sr. / Cypress, Texas) had six offensive rebounds among his team-leading eight boards.

Josh Johnson led Presbyterian with 16 points. The Mids held Presbyterian's top two scorers, Mutakabbir and Al'Lonzo Coleman to 21 points between them. The pair had come in averaging 28 points. Coleman, who had eight points, five assists and four rebounds in the first half, scored just two points, had one assist and one rebound in the second half. The 6-7, 250-pound forward came into the game averaging 14.8 ppg and 8.6 rpg.

The Blue Hose did shoot 20-of-37 (.541) from the field, 6-of-15 (.400) from three-point range and 14-of-17 (.824) from the free throw line. They were, however, guilty of 27 turnovers.

The Mids close out non-conference play on Tuesday night by hosting Longwood as part of a women's-men's doubleheader. The women host Howard at 5:15 pm, then the men take the court at 7:30 pm. One ticket allows fans to watch both games. For more information, call the Navy Athletics ticket office at 1-800-US4-NAVY.

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