Feb. 2, 2007
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - John Griffin scored 15 points as Bucknell rallied on the road to beat Navy Friday night, 78-63. Greg Sprink led Navy with 18 points and became the 17th player in school history to score 1,000 career points, and just the fifth to do so in his junior year. Sprink, who needed 11 points to reach a grand, now has 1,007 career points.
Navy had a strong first half, jumping out to a 24-16 lead with 9:41 to play in the first half on a Sprink three-pointer, but the Bison closed the half on a 23-13 run taking the lead for good on a Patrick Behan three-pointer with 25 seconds left to give the Bison a 39-37 halftime lead.
Bucknell then broke the game open early in the second half, opening the stanza on a 18-6 burst over the first six minutes. The Bison would stretch the lead to as many as 20 with just under two minutes to play before Navy trimmed the final margin to 78-63.
"I thought we had good physical energy tonight, but I didn't like the pace," said Navy head coach Billy Lange. "We gave Bucknell too many possessions and didn't play great defense. They took advantage and capitalized offensively against us. You have to have offensive and defensive balance against them. Scoring 63 points on offense should be enough, so I am disappointed in that."
The Mids struggled on the glass against the physical Bison, getting outrebounded, 40-22. Navy was 21-of-53 (.396) from the field, including 13-of-32 (.406) from three-point range. Navy made all eight of its free throw attempts, and turned the ball over just 10 times. Navy also recorded assists on its first 19 baskets and finished with 19 total assists on its 21 made baskets.
"I thought we did a great job offensively taking care of the ball and moving the ball early," said Lange. "Getting 19 assists on 21 baskets is pretty amazing and it was nice to see our offense get untracked some."
Lange also got strong contributions from the bench. Clif Colbert
, seeing his first extensive action of the season, scored eight points and grabbed five rebounds in just 14 minutes, while Chris Harris
scored 12 points with two assists, two rebounds and a steal in 24 minutes. Scott Brooks
, also seeing extensive action for the first time, gave Lange 15 solid minutes with one assist and two rebounds.
All told, Navy's bench scored 33 of its 63 points.
"I thought Clif (Colbert) and Scott (Brooks) played great tonight," said Lange. "They gave us a good spark and that is encouraging. They have been practicing well and they took advantage of their chance tonight."
Bucknell, which improves to 14-8 overall and stayed within striking distance of league leader Holy Cross at 8-1 in league play, shot 25-of-50 (.500) from the field, including 11-of-22 (.500) from three-point range. Bucknell was 17-of-22 (.773) from the free-throw line and turned the ball over 14 times.
Navy drops under .500 for the first time this year at 11-12 and are now 1-7 in Patriot League play. Navy has lost five games in a row.
"I was encouraged by a lot of things tonight," said Lange. "I have a constant faith in our team. We are still fighting hard and are getting closer and closer to getting over the hump. We are improving every game and will continue to do so as we move on in the year."
Navy will travel to Lehigh on Wednesday, Feb. 7, for a 7:00 pm tip at Stabler Arena against the Mountain Hawks.
# GO NAVY #