Jan. 16, 2010
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- Lafayette jumped out to a 53-33 halftime lead and held off one serious Navy challenge in the second half, handing the Navy men's basketball team its first Patriot League loss of the season, 90-77, before a season-high crowd of 3,288 at Alumni Hall.
The loss drops Navy's record to 8-10 overall and 2-1 in the Patriot League, while Lafayette improves to 12-6 overall and into sole possession of first place in the Patriot League at 3-0.
"Lafayette played very well tonight and we just dug ourselves too big of a hole in the first half," said Navy head coach Billy Lange. "We are a good team, but we have a disease of being satisfied after playing well. This team's biggest opponent is itself and being complacent. If we can get past the complacency we show after having some success, we can accomplish a lot this year.
"We did nothing in the first half tonight that we talked about doing," added Lange. "The second half was better, but it was just too much to overcome. We just have to stop learning lessons the hard way."
Navy never led in the contest and the game was last tied at 15 with 13:13 to play in the first half. The Mids trailed, 21-19, when Lafayette rattled off a 13-0 run to grab a 34-19 advantage with 7:38 to play. Navy would get no closer than 13 for the remainder of the first half, in falling behind, 53-33, at the break. The 20-point deficit was the largest halftime deficit since trailing Drexel, 49-29, on Nov. 11, 2007.
Navy trailed by 20 points, thanks in large part to forcing just three turnovers and shooting just 3-of-18 from inside the three-point line in the first half. Navy shot 30.0 percent for the half, while Lafayette shot 58.1 percent in the opening 20 minutes.
Navy, however, showed its resiliency in the second half, cutting the margin to 11 (62-51) just 5:21 into the second half on a Greg Brown three-pointer.
The Mids would continue to chip into the lead, getting the margin to nine at 70-61 with 10:44 left. Navy had two chances to cut into the lead even more, but O.J. Avworo
had a lay-up blocked and Jordan Sugars
had a three-pointer that was halfway down before rimming out, and Lafayette quickly scored the next four points to thwart the challenge.
Navy would get no closer than 10 the rest of the way at 76-66 with 6:04 left, and the Leopards made 12-of-15 free throws in the second half to hang on for the win.
"We didn't deserve to win tonight with the way we played in the first half," said Navy sophomore Jordan Sugars. "We just can't come out like that and expect to win. I'm proud of the way we battled back, but it can't get to that. We just have to stay positive and learn from this game."
Navy shot 39.3 percent (24-of-61) for the contest and was a sizzling 52.0 percent (13-of-25) from three-point range but shot just 30.6 percent (11-of-36) from inside the arc. Navy shot 88.9 percent (16-of-18) from the free throw line, had 13 turnovers and both teams had 34 rebounds.
Lafayette shot 53.7 percent (29-of-54) from the field, 50.0 percent (11-of-22) from three-point range and shot 72.4 percent (21-of-29) from the charity stripe. Lafayette had just 10 turnovers, while registering 20 assists.
Chris Harris led Navy with 24 points and was 8-of-8 from the free throw line, giving him 22 straight free throws made. Jordan Sugars had 18 points and eight rebounds and Jeremy Wilson tallied 12 points with a career-best eight rebounds. O.J. Avworo handed out a career-high 10 assists and added five points.
Sophomore Ryan Willen led Lafayette with 26 points, eight rebounds and five assists, while Jim Mower had 20 and Jared Mintz scored 18 points.
Navy heads to Worcester, Mass., on Wednesday night to face the preseason Patriot League favorite, Holy Cross, at 7:00 pm at the Hart Center. The game will be broadcast on the radio waves by WNAV (1430 AM), with Pete Medhurst handling the call.
# GO NAVY #