Jan. 4, 2011
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- Jordan Sugars scored 18 of his 20 points in the second half and the Navy men's basketball team shot 69.0 percent from the field in the second half as the Midshipmen rallied from an eight-point halftime deficit to top Longwood, 87-70, on Tuesday night in Alumni Hall.
The win snapped a five-game losing streak for the Midshipmen and pushes Navy's record to 5-11 overall. The win came in Navy's final non-conference game of the season as it hosts Bucknell in Saturday's Patriot League opener at Alumni Hall. Longwood falls to 5-13 overall.
Navy led early on at 11-7, but the Lancers went on a 10-0 run and would lead for the remainder of the half, taking a 38-30 lead at the break. The Midshipmen shot just 9-of-33 (.273) from the field and were just 1-of-15 (.067) from beyond the three-point arc.
Including the first half of tonight's game, Navy was 14-of-77 (.182) from three-point range spanning four games and seven halves from Dec. 22 (Elon) to Jan. 4 (Longwood).
"I thought we were doing a lot of right things in the first half and we weren't getting the results. I felt for the guys, because we were fighting hard," said Navy head coach Billy Lange. "I have been here seven years. We are going to shoot threes and that is not going to change. I don't think any of them were bad ones. We just have to keep shooting them and break through. We have faith and confidence in our shooters. And we broke through in the second half."
The Lancers would go up by 11 at 45-34, when the Midshipmen started to rally, using a 12-1 run to tie the game at 46 with 14:37 to play on a J.J. Avila (Fr. / McAllen, Texas) three-pointer. Longwood regained the lead at 60-57 on back-to-back three-pointers by Antwan Carter, but the Mids then used a 22-2 run over five-plus minutes to take a 79-62 lead with 3:04 to play.
Navy would then coast in during the remainder of the contest, making all 10 of its free throw attempts in the second half, for the 87-70 victory.
Navy went 20-of-29 (.690) from the field in the second half and 7-of-12 (.583) from three-point range in the final 20 minutes. The Mids finished 29-of-62 (.468) from the field, 8-of-27 (.296) from the three-point line and 21-of-24 (.875) from the free throw line. The Midshipmen were outrebounded, 32-31, but had more points in the paint (32-26) and second-chance points (13-9) than the Lancers.
Navy outscored Longwood, 57-32, in the second half.
Navy also had just 15 turnovers, while forcing 26 Longwood mistakes. It was the second straight game Navy had a plus-11 turnover margin, the third-best mark during the Lange era.
"I'm proud of our effort so far this calendar year. I thought we have played very hard and very aggressive," said Lange. "We have never lost playing hard, and we have to keep staying focused. I thought in our last two games, we learned how to fight and be more aggressive and more physical."
"We don't lose confidence in each other. Everything was positive at halftime," said junior guard Jordan Sugars. "We were making the right plays in the first half and we just stuck with the plan in the second half. We just played with more energy in the second half. They were rattled and we just kept going at them and playing with passion. It wasn't anything different. Just more attention to detail.
"We are always going to play hard and play for each other," added Sugars. "That is the one constant this team has done all year."
Sugars led Navy with 20 points, his sixth 20-point game of the year, all coming in his last seven contests. He also added a team-high six rebounds while shooting 8-of-14 from the field and 4-of-8 from three-point range.
Avila added 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting with four rebounds, two assists and a steal. O.J. Avworo (Sr. / Houston, Texas) played his best game of the year with 12 points, six assists against no turnovers and four rebounds. Greg Brown (Sr. / Waldorf, Md.) was the fourth Navy player in double figures with 10 points and three assists.
"These were tough guys to play against. They have great foot speed and really try to force the tempo," said Lange. "O.J. played a great, poised game and looked like the O.J. of old tonight. It is helping him that Brennan (Wyatt) is on the floor with him. It takes some pressure off O.J. It's only going to help him as we move forward this year."
Carter led Longwood with 28 points. The Lancers shot 50.0 percent from the field, but went to the free throw line just 11 times and was guilty of 26 turnovers, which Navy turned into 34 points.
Navy hosts Bucknell in the Patriot League opener on Saturday night at 8:00 pm at Alumni Hall in a nationally-televised game by CBS College Sports. At halftime of the Bucknell contest, the 1986 team will be honored in celebration of its 25th Anniversary of its NCAA Tournament Elite Eight berth. David Robinson, Vernon Butler, Kylor Whitaker and others are scheduled to attend. Earlier in the day, the annual Alumni Game will be played at 4:00 pm and admission is free to the public. One team will be comprised of members of the 1986 team (including Robinson, Butler and Whitaker), while the other team will be made up of recent Navy greats including Chris Harris and Adam Teague.
Tickets are available by calling 1-800-US4-NAVY, online at www.NavySports.com and at the Alumni Hall box office prior to Saturday evening's game. The Alumni Hall ticket office will open at 6:00 pm on Saturday night.
# GO NAVY #