Jan. 30, 2010
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- Sophomore Jordan Sugars scored a career-high 34 points and grabbed a team-best nine rebounds to lead Navy to a 100-91 victory over Colgate on Saturday night at Alumni Hall. The win improves Navy's overall record to 10-12 and 4-3 in the Patriot League at the midway point. Colgate dropped to 6-15 overall and 2-5 in the league standings.
Navy reached the century mark in a Patriot League game for the first time since a 100-75 win over Lehigh on Jan. 29, 2000. The Mids accomplished the feat with a crisp offense that shot 51.6 percent from the field and had 15 three-point field goals, tied for the second most in school history. Navy also recorded 19 assists on 32 made field goals.
"We are getting comfortable with the ball, and when it moves like it did tonight, teams have to play you different defensively," said Navy head coach Billy Lange, whose squad improved to 8-3 at Alumni Hall. "We had long stretches tonight where we were very efficient on offense. We are getting better and that is the most important thing. We came ready to play and executed."
The beneficiary of the crisp ball movement was Sugars, a 6-3 guard from Winchester, Va. Sugars connected on 13-of-17 field goal tries, including 6-of-8 from downtown. Navy led just 83-80 with just over three minutes to play when he hit back-to-back three-pointers to keep the Raiders at bay.
Sugars' 34 points were the fifth most in school history by a sophomore (Don Lange 36 vs. Duke in 1952; David Robinson 35 vs. American, 39 vs. East Carolina and 37 vs. Western Illinois in 1985). In addition, he and teammate Chris Harris (who has three 30-point games this year) became the fourth duo in school history to each have a 30-point game in a season (Lange and John Clune in 1952, 1953 and 1954; Bill Radcliffe and Chris Reddington in 1965; Chris Harris and Kaleo Kina in 2009).
"If we run our offense like we are supposed to, that is what it should look like," said Sugars. "Tonight, the ball just found me and the guys did a great job getting open looks and knocking them down. It all comes down to us. It's our choice to run the offense the way its supposed to run, and when we decide to move the ball, tonight is what can happen."
"Jordan obviously made some shots, but he looked really aggressive in doing so," said Lange. "His shots came with great movement and he had really good, open looks and he knocked them down."
Navy led virtually the entire game, taking a 46-36 halftime advantage. Navy quickly pushed the lead to 60-39, its largest of the game, on a Sugars' three-pointer. The Midshipmen would still lead 78-63 with 7:29 to play, when the Raiders went on a quick 10-0 spurt to cut the Navy lead to five at 78-73 with 5:51 left. The Raiders would cut the lead to three at 83-80 with 4:19 to play, but Sugars connected on back-to-back three-pointers and the Midshipmen made 9-of-10 free throws down the stretch to hold on for the victory.
Navy jumped out quickly, grabbing its first double-digit lead at 22-11 with 11:58 to play in the first half. Colgate cut the lead to seven at 43-36 late in the half, but Romeo Garcia connected on a three-pointer at the halftime buzzer to give the Mids a 46-36 halftime lead.
Navy made 9-of-11 three-pointers in the second half and finished the game 15-of-25 (.600) from long range, 32-of-62 (.516) from the field and 21-of-27 (.778) from the free throw line. Colgate shot 30-of-71 (.423) from the field, 10-of-31 (.323) from three-point range and 21-of-27 (.778) from the free throw line. The Raiders outrebounded Navy, 41-35, and both teams had 16 turnovers.
In addition to Sugars' 34 points, Chris Harris scored 25 points with three steals. O.J. Avworo had a fantastic game with 14 points, 10 assists and four rebounds in 37 minutes of action against just two turnovers. Avworo made 8-of-12 from the free throw line and connected on a pair of three-pointers for the first time in his career.
"O.J. was great again tonight, and since we have come back from Christmas break, he has been phenomenal," said Lange. "He did a great job getting guys good shots and finding them in rhythm."
Kyle Roemer led five Colgate players in double-figures with 31 points and 11 rebounds. Roemer scored 27 of his points in the second half, including 15 in the last eight minutes.
"I thought we did a great job defensively on him for about 30 minutes," said Lange. "He is such a great player and he kind of got going late in the game. For the most part, our defense was pretty good tonight."
Navy now sits in a three-way tie for third place in the Patriot League and could wind up in a four-way tie for second depending on the outcome of Lehigh (4-2) and Holy Cross (2-4) tomorrow. At the midway point, Navy, Bucknell and American all own 4-3 marks.
"It sure beats the alternative," said Lange. "We probably won some games we should have lost and lost some games we should have won. I think our record so far in Patriot League play is a pretty fair assessment of our team so far. The good thing is that our focus is improving and the league is wide open this year."
Navy will host Bucknell next Saturday at 7:00 pm at Alumni Hall in the final home weekend game of the season. For ticket information, call 1-800-US4-NAVY.
# GO NAVY #