Feb. 13, 2010
EASTON, Pa. -- Lafayette's Jared Mintz scored 23 points and grabbed nine rebounds and Navy shot just 37.0 percent in the second half, falling to Lafayette, 83-77, on Saturday afternoon at the Kirby Sports Center. The loss drops Navy's overall record to 12-13 and to 6-4 in the Patriot League. Lafayette improved to 15-10 overall and 6-4 in the league standings.
The two teams are now a half-game out of first place depending on Lehigh's (6-3) game with Army tonight. A Lehigh loss and a Bucknell win tomorrow over Holy Cross would create a four-way logjam in first place with just four games to play.
The two teams were tied at halftime at 45, but Lafayette went 17-of-24 from the free throw line in the second half and was 9-of-18 from the field. The Leopards went 10-of-22 from the three-point line, while Navy shot just 6-of-25 from long distance for the game.
The game featured 16 lead changes and 10 ties in a see-saw battle. In the final 20 minutes, there were eight lead changes and seven ties alone.
"It's always a fun game when these two teams get together and you have to give credit to Lafayette. They made a few more plays than we did in the second half," said Navy head coach, whose team saw its three-game winning streak come to a halt. "There is a lot of ball left. We'll keep getting better, and our main focus is on us and no one else."
Mintz scored 11 straight points for Lafayette midway through the second half to turn a 58-58 tie with 13:32 to play into a 72-65 advantage 5:35 to play. The run coincided with Chris Harris, the league's leading scorer at 21.4 ppg, picking up his fourth foul with 14:04 to play.
"The game came down to Lafayette's ability to go to its go-to-guy (Mintz) down the stretch and our go-to-guy on the bench," said Lange. "We have to be ready for every situation, and I thought we got decent looks with Chris on the bench. They just didn't go down."
"It's always frustrating to be in foul trouble, but we have a lot of trust in each other to make plays," said Harris. "Obviously, playing with four fouls is always in your mind, but you still have to play hard and not change your plan. It can get tough to balance, though."
Navy, however, would not fold, cutting the lead to 74-72 with 3:58 to play on a Jordan Sugars
lay-up. After a Mintz turnover, Navy had a chance to take the lead, but Romeo Garcia
misfired on a three-pointer from the corner and the next time down, the Leopards' Jeff Kari connected on a three-pointer to push the lead back to five with 2:35 left.
Navy would draw to within two at 78-76 on an O.J. Avworo layup with 54 seconds left, but Harris picked up his fifth foul on a questionable call with 35 seconds left and Navy could not get over the hump in the final 30 seconds, falling 83-77.
"If the ref saw it as a foul, it's obviously a foul," said Harris, in reference to his fifth foul. "I was trying to get out of the way, but he thought there was contact. You have to make that call."
Lafayette would jump out in the first half to a 21-15 margin with 13:26 to play, but the Midshipmen crawled back to take a 22-21 lead with 11:15 to play. Lafayette surged ahead matching its biggest lead of the game at 33-26. Navy would answer with an 11-3 spurt to grab a 37-36 lead with 3:50 to play, before both teams settled in for the remainder of the half, tied at 45.
As a team, Navy shot 26-of-58 (.448) from the field and 19-of-26 (.731) from the free throw line. The Mids outrebounded Lafayette, 36-33, and had 18 turnovers to the Leopards' 13. Navy was credited with just five assists, but many of Navy's baskets came on driving lay-ups to the hoop.
Lafayette shot 25-of-51 (.490) from the field and 23-of-33 (.697) from the free throw line.
Harris led Navy with 25 points and four steals in just 24 minutes. Jordan Sugars added 21 points and eight rebounds, while O.J. Avworo tied his career high with 17 points. Navy's bench was outscored, 30-4, in the contest.
Besides Mintz's 23 points, Jeff Kari added 19 and Jim Mower had 16.
Navy will return home for a Wednesday night contest against Holy Cross, beginning at 7:00 pm from Alumni Hall. For ticket information, call 1-800-US4-NAVY. Fans that had purchased tickets to the Colgate game on Jan. 30, and the Bucknell game on Feb. 5, but could not make it due to the recent snowstorms, can use those tickets for Wednesday's contest.
-- Chris Harris has scored in double figures in all 25 games this year ... he moved past Kaleo Kina into seventh place on the school's career scoring list ... he also became the school's second player with 1,500 points, 250 assists and 150 steals in a career, joining Kina ... lastly, his three three-pointer give him 75 for the season, tied for the fifth most in a season in school history.
-- Jordan Sugars' 21 points and eight rebounds give him 383 points and 205 rebounds this year. He needs 17 points and 20 rebounds to become the sixth player in school history with 400 points and 225 rebounds in a season ... it marked his sixth 20-point game this season, and the 19th time in 25 games he has led the team in rebounding.
-- O.J. Avworo's 17 points tied a career high and over the last four games, is averaging 14.0 ppg and 8.3 apg.
-- Navy is now 8-1 in games this year decided by six or fewer points ... since the start of last year, Navy is 19-7 in such games.
# GO NAVY #