Jan. 11, 2012
WORCESTER, Mass. -- Holy Cross made 24-of-29 free throw attempts in the second half and held off every Navy charge to top the Mids, 73-69, in men's basketball action at the Hart Center on Wednesday night.
The loss drops Navy's record to 3-13 overall and 0-2 in the Patriot League, while Holy Cross improved to 8-8 overall and 2-0 in league play.
Navy fell to 2-9 in games decided by single digits and is 0-4 is games decided by four points or less. Navy's two league losses have come by two to Lafayette (65-63) and four at Holy Cross (73-69).
"A win in a tight game would do a lot for us. We are getting close and we need to just finish it off. You can't just will it to happen. You have to go get it in winning time," said Navy head coach Ed DeChellis.
Holy Cross used a 9-0 run early in the second half to take a 37-30 lead after Navy led 30-28 early in the second half. The Mids countered with a 19-7 spurt taking their largest lead of the game at 49-44 on a Jordan Brickman (Jr. / San Antonio, Texas) layup with 10:43 to play.
The Midshipmen still led 56-53 on a Jordan Sugars (Sr. / Winchester, Mass.) lay-up with 7:21 to play. Holy Cross would answer by holding Navy without a point for the next four-plus minutes, using a 12-0 run to take its largest lead of the game at 65-56 with 3:05 left on a Devin Brown three-point play. Navy countered by scoring the next six points, trimming the margin to three points at 65-62 with 1:07 left, but the Crusaders made 8-of-10 free throws in the final minute for the final four-point margin.
"You can't allow a team to score 45 points in the second half, no matter who you are playing," said DeChellis. "We aren't that big and they got the ball inside. We had a chance to make some big shots and missed some free throws at big times. We had some open shots that didn't fall. That's the way all of our games have been. We have had a chance to win with 3-4 minutes in a lot of games and just didn't make the plays. Holy Cross has a lot of experience and they took advantage of that down the stretch."
The Midshipmen were whistled for 19 fouls in the second half after being called for just six in the first half and Holy Cross was in the bonus for the final 11:28 of the contest. Of the Crusaders' 45 second-half points, 24 of them came at the charity stripe.
Navy led 10-4 early on, but a 9-0 Holy Cross run gave the Crusaders a 13-10 advantage. After Holy Cross stretched the lead to 23-16 with 3:46 to play in the opening half, Navy used a 12-2 run to take a 28-26 lead, before settling in for a halftime tie, 28-28.
Navy shot 24-of-57 (.421) from the field, 9-of-27 (.333) from three-point range and 12-of-16 (.750) from the free throw line. The Mids had 16 assists against just nine turnovers, matching a season low set against Lafayette in the previous game, and were outrebounded by just two, 31-29. Navy had 12 offensive rebounds for 15 second-chance points.
Holy Cross shot 21-of-45 (.467) from the field, 4-of-12 (.333) from long distance and 27-of-32 (.844) from the free throw line. Holy Cross had 11 turnovers, which Navy turned into just six points. Holy Cross turned Navy's nine turnovers into 16 points.
Avila and Sugars each scored 22 points to pace Navy. Avila added six rebounds and three assists while Sugars had five rebounds, one assist and a steal. Worth Smith (Fr. / Mooresville, N.C.) recorded his first career double-double with 13 points, 10 rebounds, two assist, one block and one steal in a fine all-around game. Brandon Venturini (Fr. / Allendale, Mich.) came off the bench to spark the Mids in the second half with six points (two three-pointers), three assists and two rebounds in 18 minutes.
The trio of Avila, Sugars and Smith went 20-of-41 from the field and 7-of-16 from three-point range for 57 of Navy's 69 points.
Devin Brown led Holy Cross with 22 points and was 13-of-14 from the free throw line. R.J. Evans and Phil Beans added 14 points each.
Navy returns home on Saturday to face Army in a women's-men's doubleheader beginning at noon at Alumni Hall. The men's game will tip off 2:30 pm and both games will be televised nationally by the CBS Sports Network. Approximately 70 tickets are still available for purchase by calling 1-800-US4-NAVY or online at www.NavySports.com(.)
Navy's starting lineup consisted of Jordan Sugars (69th career start / 34th straight), J.J. Avila (35 / 17), Jordan Brickman (12 / 3), Worth Smith (7 / 1) and Ted Connolly (3 / 2) ... it was the first game with this lineup and eighth different starting lineup in just the 16th game ... Holy Cross improved to 34-18 all-time against Navy and was the third straight win for the Crusaders in the series ... Navy is just 1-13 in its last 14 games against Holy Cross at the Hart Center ... the loss was Navy's ninth in a row with six of them coming by single digits, including four in a row (by a combined 21 points) ... the loss was Navy's eighth straight in road games ... over the last seven games, Navy now has 96 assists against 83 turnovers (1.16 assist-to-turnover ratio) ... Navy's starting lineup accounted for just three turnovers in 152 minutes ... Navy has had single-digit turnovers in back-to-back games (nine in each game) for the first time since doing it in three straight games from Feb. 26 to March 4, 1994 ... however, in the last six games, opponents have taken 71 Navy turnovers and turned them into 97 points (1.37 points per turnover). Navy has taken 77 opponent turnovers and turned them into 52 points (0.68 points per turnover) ... Navy fell to 0-11 when being outrebounded ... the Mids are now 1-13 when opponents shoot a higher percentage from the field ... J.J. Avila recorded his 12th straight double-figure scoring game and eighth 20-point game of his career ... he surpassed the 600-point plateau in the first half and now has 609 points to rank seventh all-time in points by the end of a sophomore season ... Jordan Sugars surpassed 1,200 career points with his 22nd 20-point game of his career, tied for the 10th most in school history ... he now ranks 18th on the career scoring list with 1,202 points and his five rebounds tied him with Francis Ebong on the school's career rebounds list with 572 ... the 22 points were a season high, was his fourth straight double-figure scoring game and his third 20-point game in the last four outings (18.5 ppg in last four games) ... Worth Smith recorded his first double-double, tying season highs in points (13) and rebounds (10) ... Smith's 13 points give him 117 points, moving him into 35th on the school's freshman scoring list ... it was his third straight double-figure scoring game and he is averaging 12.7 ppg while shooting 13-of-24 from the field and 8-of-14 from three-point range.
# GO NAVY #