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Army Edges Navy in Alumni Hall Thriller, 56-55

Worth Smith scored 14 points with eight rebounds in the loss to Army.

Worth Smith scored 14 points with eight rebounds in the loss to Army.

Feb. 16, 2013

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- The Army men's basketball team went on a 17-5 run midway through the second half and a Tilman Dunbar jumper in the lane as the clock expired came up short as Army edged the Midshipmen, 56-55, in front of a sell-out crowd of 5,710 on Saturday afternoon.

The loss drops Navy to 7-19 overall and 1-9 in the Patriot League while Army improves to 12-13 overall and 5-5 in league play.

Navy led for essentially the first 30 minutes of the contest, before Army's run gave the Black Knights a 56-50 lead with 2:58 to play.

Navy would trim the margin to 56-52 on a Dunbar jumper with 2:36 to play and freshman Kendall Knorr (Concord, N.C.), who was playing in his first game since injuring his shoulder against Colgate on Jan. 30, connected on three free throws with 43 seconds left to trim the lead to 56-55.

Army had two chances to increase the lead, missing a pair of layups, to set up Navy's final chance. The Mids took possession of the ball with 9.5 seconds left and Dunbar drove into the lane, and looked for a kick-out to Knorr or Brandon Venturini (So. / Allendale, Mich.), who were both covered.

Dunbar dribbled back to the left and was forced to shoot an off-balance runner that came up short as Army held on for a 56-55 victory.

It was the first one-point decision in the Army-Navy series since Feb. 23, 1985, a 48-47 Navy victory, and first one-point game since a 65-64 loss to Coppin State on Dec. 7, 2010.

"It obviously was a hard-fought game by both squads. I thought Ella Ellis took over the game there in the second half and as a coach, you hope that is what your senior leader does, and unfortunately for us, he did that for Army," said Navy head coach Ed DeChellis. "We had some critical mistakes in the last two minutes of the game. It's just the same thing that comes back to haunt us. We just can't score the ball. I am proud of the kids for coming back and giving us a chance to win, but it's hard to win when you shoot 37 percent from the field. That is the bottom line."

After Army scored the first hoop of the contest, Navy led the remainder of the half, grabbing a seven-point lead at 22-15 on a Worth Smith (So. / Mooresville, N.C.) dunk and subsequent free throw with 5:35 left. Army would close to 27-24 on a pair of Ellis free throws with three seconds left, but Venturini would bang home a 45-foot three-pointer before the half-court buzzer for a 30-24 halftime advantage for the Midshipmen.

Navy's lead would fluctuate between two and seven for the first eight minutes of the second half, until Army would take its first lead since 2-0 at 47-46 on a lay-up by freshman Kyle Wilson with 9:10 left.

Army would push its lead to six, before Navy's comeback ultimately ended just short.

The Midshipmen endured a nine-minute, 11-second stretch in the second half without a field goal as Army outscored Navy, 17-5, during that span.

The Midshipmen shot just 16-of-43 (.372) from the field, including just 7-of-21 (.333) in the second half. Navy was 3-of-13 (.231) from three-point range and 20-of-29 (.690) from the free throw line. Navy was outrebounded, 35-25, grabbing just 10 rebounds in the second half to Army's 21. The Midshipmen were credited with 11 turnovers.

Army went 20-of-44 (.455) from the field, 6-of-18 (.333) from three-point range and 10-of-17 (.588) from the free throw line. Army was guilty of 14 turnovers.

Smith led the Midshipmen with 14 points (5-of-8 FGs) and eight rebounds, two blocks and two steals. He became just the third player, joining David Robinson and Gary Price, to have scored 400 points, grab 300 rebounds and block 50 shots by the end of his sophomore season at Navy.

Dunbar added 12 points and five assists, while Knorr tallied eight points, two rebounds and one steal in 25 minutes off the bench.

Ellis and Wilson led Army with 12 points each.

Of the 111 points scored during the contest, 59 of them (27 for Navy, 32 by Army) were scored by freshmen.

Navy remains home on Wednesday night with a 7:00 PM tip against American at Alumni Hall. For ticket information, call 1-800-US4-NAVY.

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