Feb. 11, 2009
Box Score |
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- Lehigh outscored the Navy men's basketball team, 32-13, in the last 15 minutes of the game to rally for a 70-59 victory over the Midshipmen at Alumni Hall on Wednesday night. The loss drops Navy to 16-8 overall and 5-4 in the Patriot League. Lehigh improves to 14-9 overall and 4-5 in the league standings.
The loss was Navy's second in a row at Alumni Hall after starting the season 9-0 at home.
"Lehigh played a great game and we are certainly not the perfect team, so we are capable of throwing in a clunker. You just hope it wouldn't happen in February late in the year," said Navy head coach Billy Lange. "Lehigh felt like they needed that game and we looked like we have five games left and we could blow this one off. At this time of year, if you aren't playing every game like its your last, then you aren't getting yourself ready with the competitiveness and focus that you need."
The Mids led the first 25 minutes of the game, jumping out to a nine-point lead at 15-6, then again at 30-21 with 1:42 to play, before settling in for a 34-26 halftime advantage.
The lead, however, could have been more as the Mids started the first half 6-of-8 from the field in the first five minutes, but went just 6-of-21 in the last 15 minutes before halftime. Navy also managed just eight points off 10 Lehigh turnovers and had nine offensive rebounds, resulting in just four second-chance points.
The Mids also played the last 17 minutes of the first half without leading scorer Kaleo Kina, who picked up two quick fouls, and the last 7:26 without their second-leading scorer, Chris Harris, who also had two fouls.
The second half started much of the same, as Navy led 46-38 after starting the second half 5-of-7 from the field in the first five minutes. Lehigh, however, stayed pace by connecting on five of its first six shots in the same timeframe. The difference was Navy finished the game just 4-of-20 in the last 15 minutes, while Lehigh went 9-of-17 to pull away. The Mountain Hawks also made 12-of-14 free throws in the second half and had just two second-half turnovers.
Lehigh would take the lead for good at 49-48 with 10:48 to play, and Navy would get no closer than six in the final eight minutes of the contest.
The Mids scored a season-low 25 points in the second half, en route to a season-low 59 points for the contest.
"Our ball just didn't move around very well tonight. We took way too many three-pointers," said Lange. "In the end, we gotta know who we are and when a team scores nine of the first 10 possessions against us in the second half, that is not the kind of games that we need to be playing. We can't run then and then we have to grind it out. It just wasn't a good formula for us."
"When you trade baskets with somebody, inevitably someone is going to get stops," said junior guard Chris Harris, who led Navy with 18 points. "We just got taken out of what we wanted to do and we didn't make any adjustments."
Navy still remains in third place in the league standings with a 5-4 record, but Lange was disappointed with his team's second-half effort. The Mids have five regular-season games left, before starting the Patriot League Tournament on March 4.
"I feel that we have had a great season, but it comes down to defense and playing as one team. In games that we have won, we have done that," said Lange. "As soon as that is forgotten, we are a below-average team, and I have no problem telling our guys that. We have to play together and we have to defend and pass and score and play together, just to win by five or six points. This is one of those efforts where you say it happened and let's forget about it and move on. But it is still disappointing."
For the game, Navy shot just 21-of-56 (.375) from the field, 6-of-23 (.261) from three-point range and just 11-of-17 (.647) from the free throw line. Navy outrebounded the Mountain Hawks, 36-30, and had just 11 turnovers with just three coming in the second half.
Harris led Navy with 18 points, including four three-pointers to push his single-season total to 72 and his career total to 187. He surpassed the 900-point total for his career, now with 908 points. Clif Colbert added 11 points, seven rebounds and two steals while Mark Veazey had 10 points and five rebounds. The league's leading scorer, Kaleo Kina, had five points in the first three minutes, but did not score during the remainder of the game. He dished out a team-best five assists.
Lehigh shot 24-of-45 (.533) from the field and was 6-of-13 (.462) from the three-point line. The Mountain Hawks went 16-of-23 (.696) from the free throw line and was guilty of 12 turnovers.
Marquis Hall led Lehigh with 18 points, while Dave Buchberger, Zahir Carrington and Rob Keefer added 14, 12 and 10 points, respectively.
Navy will conclude its two-game homestand on Saturday evening against Lafayette, tipping off at 7:00 pm in Alumni Hall. For ticket information, call 1-800-US4-NAVY.
# GO NAVY #