ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- Darryl Shazier scored 23 of Bucknell's 44 second-half points and Bucknell held off every Navy charge in the second half for a 71-64 decision in front of 3,818 fans at Alumni Hall on Saturday night. The loss drops Navy to 5-12 overall and 0-1 in the Patriot League, while Bucknell improves to 10-7 overall and 1-0 in league play.
Navy saw its four-game winning streak over Bucknell end, as well as its two-game Patriot League opener winning streak. It was the largest margin in the series since Jan. 12, 2008, when the Bison topped the Mids, 85-77, eight games ago. The previous five meetings had been determined by 2, 2, 2, 4 and 1 point.
Navy led 28-27 at halftime and would hold its last lead of the game at 37-34 on a Greg Brown (Sr. / Waldorf, Md.) three-pointer with 13:59 to play before Bucknell went on a quick 11-2 spurt to grab a 45-39 advantage with 10:17 to play. The Bison took their largest lead of the game at 53-45 with 7:51 left, but Navy would battle back, drawing to within 55-53 on a pair of free throws by J.J. Avila (Fr. / McAllen, Texas) with 5:36 to play.
However, moments later, the Mids would suffer a big blow when Avila picked up his fifth foul on an illegal screen with 4:31 to play and Navy trailing 60-53. Four times in the last three minutes, Navy would cut the lead to three points, but couldn't get the big defensive stop and fell in its league opener, 71-64.
Navy would fall behind early, 13-9, and still trailed 18-16 when the Mids went on a 10-0 run fueled by eight points by Avila to grab its largest lead of the night at 26-18 with 4:50 left. However, Navy would score just two points in the final 4:50 and Bucknell closed the half on a 9-2 spurt to cut the Navy halftime lead to one at 28-27.
Navy would shoot an icy 20-of-56 (.357) from the field and went just 8-of-33 (.242) from the three-point line. The Mids would record one of their finest free throw shooting performances in school history, making 16-of-17 (.941) from the free throw line. Navy was guilty of a season-low 11 turnovers and was outrebounded, 36-31.
Bucknell shot 27-of-57 (.474) from the field, including 16-of-29 (.552) in the second half. The Bison went 3-of-11 (.273) from three-point range and were just as hot as Navy from the charity stripe, making 14-of-16 (.875) attempts. The two teams combined to shoot 30-of-33 (.909) from the free throw line. Bucknell committed nine turnovers.
Avila had another outstanding game for the Midshipmen, scoring 20 points with two steals and an assist in just 23 minutes of action. He moved into 20th place on the school's career chart for scoring by a freshman with 183 points and is now averaging 18.3 ppg over his last four contests. Jordan Sugars (Jr. / Winchester, Va.) scored in double figures for the 12th straight game with a 12-point, eight-rebound effort. O.J. Avworo (Sr. / Houston, Texas) had 11 points and a team-best four assists and went 7-of-8 from the free throw line.
Shazier had 28 for Bucknell, while Mike Muscala had 19 points.
Navy will hit the road for its next two games, battling Lehigh in Bethlehem, Pa., on Wednesday night (7:00 pm) and Lafayette in Easton, Pa., on Saturday (1:00 pm). Both games will be carried by WNAV (1430 AM) with Pete Medhurst on the call.
-- The crowd of 3,818 was the sixth-largest non-Army crowd in school history ... it was the largest crowd to witness a non-Army game since 4,104 fans watched Georgetown and Navy on Nov. 18, 2005.
-- Navy saw its four-game winning streak end against Bucknell ... it was the third-longest active winning streak of any opponent.
-- Navy fell to 9-11 all-time in Patriot League openers and is now 6-6 against Bucknell in league openers ... the Mids saw a modest two-game winning streak in league openers end.
-- Navy's 94.1 percent at the free throw line was the fourth-best mark in school history (min. 10 attempts).
-- Navy is now just 2-6 in games decided by single digits.
-- Navy has now been outrebounded in 21 straight games by a Division I opponent, dating back to last year.
-- Navy had forced at least 23 turnovers in each of the last three games ... The Mids forced just nine tonight ... Navy tied a season-low with 11 turnovers in the loss.
-- Navy's freshmen class scored 25 more points tonight, giving the group 439 points this year, an average of 25.8 points per game.
-- Jordan Sugars has scored in double figures in 12 straight games and has made a three-pointer in 27 straight games, dating back to last year ... Sugars surpassed the 400-rebound plateau in the loss and is closing in on 800 career points (now with 787).
-- J.J. Avila recorded his third career 20-point game and ninth double-figure game ... Avila ranks 20th on the school's freshman scoring list with 183 points (10.8 ppg) ... Avila's four three-pointers tied a career high.