Feb. 10, 2007
EASTON, Pa. -- Greg Sprink equaled a season high with 29 points and Navy overcame a sluggish start for its second straight Patriot League road victory in a 70-63 victory over Lafayette. The win improves Navy's record to 13-12 overall and 3-7 in the Patriot League. Lafayette falls to 8-17 and 2-8 in league play.
"That is a great win for us," said Navy head coach Billy Lange. "We have never been able to get a win here and we battled and hung tough and we thought that is exactly how the game would go. They made runs, but we stayed tough. We sustained great focus and got it done."
Navy started slow as the Leopards built a 7-0 lead three minutes into the game and pushed the lead to 10 points at 16-6 with 13:00 to play. However, Navy started to get hot from long distance and ended the half on a 29-12 run over the last 13 minutes to take a 35-28 advantage into the locker rooms. Greg Sprink fueled the Navy run, scoring the Mids' last seven points of the half and finishing with 14 points in the opening half. Adam Teague and T.J. Topercer also sparked the Mids in the first half, scoring eight and five points off the bench, respectively.
Navy hit six three-pointers in the first half and was 14-of-31 from the field in the first 20 minutes, while holding Lafayette to just 33.3 percent (9-of-27) from the field.
Lafayette cut the lead to 42-40 on a Matt Betley three-point play with 13:34 to play, but Kaleo Kina converted a four-point play to start a quick 7-0 run to push the lead back to nine at 49-40. Lafayette wouldn't fold and trimmed the Navy cushion to 55-53 with 5:09 to play.
However, Navy would score the game's next seven points including a Sprink three-pointer with 1:27 to play as the shot clock was winding down to give Navy a nine-point advantage at 62-53 and the Mids salted the game away by connecting on eight-of-10 free throws in the last 1:20 to hold on for the 70-63 victory.
Sprink also scored 29 points against Stony Brook, and finished 9-of-16 from the field and three-of-five from long distance.
"This will be a boost to our confidence and we knew we were close to turning the corner," said Sprink. "We have been waiting for our time and we knew it would come if we stuck with the gameplan. We are starting to play with some confidence."
Navy shot 42.3 percent from the floor and were outrebounded 40-30, while committing just 12 turnovers. Lafayette shot just 36.5 percent and was 8-of-29 from long distance. The Leopards were forced into 19 miscues.
"They have excellent guards and can really move the ball well," said Lange. "We just had to focus on neutralizing them. Early on, we weren't pressuring them very well, but after the second media timeout, we settled down and got on them some. It made a big difference."
It was Navy's first back-to-back road wins in League play since the end of the 2003-04 season and marked Navy's first road sweep of the Lehigh Valley schools since 1997-98 and was Navy's first sweep of Lafayette since that year. The win also pushes Navy into a sixth-place tie with American and depending on Army's game with Lehigh tonight, could be tied for fifth with an Army loss.
Navy will be in action next on Wednesday night when it returns home for a contest with league-leader Holy Cross, beginning at 7:00 pm in Alumni Hall. For ticket information, call 1-800-US4-NAVY.
# GO NAVY #