Jan. 4, 2010
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Howard men's basketball team outscored Navy, 9-0, in the final minute of play to hand the Midshipmen a 72-65 setback on Monday night. The loss snapped Navy's modest two-game winning streak and drops Navy's record to 6-9 overall. Howard improved to 2-13 with the victory.
Navy has lost six straight games away from Annapolis and has a 1-7 record away from Alumni Hall, entering Saturday night's Patriot League opener at Bucknell.
"We didn't do enough tonight for 40 minutes to be successful. When we don't play together, we aren't going to beat anyone," said Navy head coach Billy Lange. "We were careless defensively and didn't show enough patience on offense. It just seemed we got antsy in the second half and weren't patient enough. When we were, we got any shot we wanted."
Howard was aided by seven three-point plays. Three of the seven came on fouled three-point shot attempts, while the Bison also connected on four and-one opportunities.
"It's just a lack of focus, and we didn't close out on shooters properly," said Lange. "Our heads were somewhere else."
Navy led 36-30 at halftime, but the Bison opened the second half on a 26-13 run to grab their largest lead of the game at 56-49 with 10:48 to play. Navy answered with a 6-0 spurt to cut the lead to 56-55, and would eventually retake the lead at 65-63 with 3:08 to play on a Jordan Sugars lay-up.
It would be the last point Navy would score as the Mids had two turnovers and four missed field goal attempts down the stretch, which would have added to the lead.
Instead, Howard tied the game on a Paul Kirkpatrick jumper with 59 seconds left, got a huge three-pointer with 22 seconds left by Curtis White for a 68-65 advantage and a rebound putback by Calvin Thompson, who rebounded his own miss on a free throw, with 11 seconds left to complete the game on a 9-0 run.
Two years ago against the Bison in the same arena, Howard outscored Navy, 10-0, in the final two minutes to break open a tie game at 65 and defeat the Mids, 75-65.
"We just didn't have the leadership on the floor tonight that we needed. We did a lot of things out of character and our lack of focus really hurt us in key spots," said Navy senior guard Chris Harris. "We were thinking we had to do too much individually, and we aren't good enough to look past anyone. We just have to keep plugging away and get better."
Navy had a strong first half, jumping out to a 20-9 lead with 8:31 to play in the half. Howard answered with a 7-0 run to trim the margin to 20-16, but Navy pushed the lead back to 10 on two different occasions (30-20 and 32-22) before settling in for a six-point halftime cushion.
Navy shot 48.1 percent in the first half, building its six-point lead, but managed to make just 40.0 percent of its second-half shots, while Howard connected on 48.1 percent in the second half to fuel its rally.
For the game, Navy shot 44.2 percent (23-of-52) from the field, 35.0 percent (7-of-20) from three-point range and 70.6 percent (12-of-17) from the free throw line. The Mids had 16 turnovers to Howard's 17 and were outrebounded, 40-29, including 16-8 on the offensive glass.
Chris Harris scored all 18 of his points in the second half to lead Navy, while Sugars added 17 and a team-best eight rebounds. The duo scored 25 of Navy's 29 second-half points and made all but one of Navy's second-half field goals.
O.J. Avworo added 11 points and five assists and freshman Montez Blair had eight points off the bench in just seven minutes.
White led four Howard players in double figures with 21 points.
Navy opens Patriot League play on Saturday night in Lewisburg, Pa., taking on Bucknell, beginning at 7:00 pm. The game will be broadcast by WNAV (1430 AM) and WTOP (820 & 1500 AM), with the Voice of Navy Basketball, Pete Medhurst, handling the call.
# GO NAVY #