Feb. 20, 2010
WEST POINT, N.Y. -- Army jumped out to a double-digit lead early and Navy never got closer than 14 points in the second half, as the Black Knights handed the Mids a 69-50 setback in the annual Star Game at sold-out Christl Arena on Saturday afternoon.
The loss drops Navy's record to 13-14 overall and 7-5 in the Patriot League, while Army improves to 14-12 overall and 4-8 in the league standings.
The loss also knocks Navy into third place in the Patriot League race, with just two games to play.
The Navy offense struggled all day against the Patriot League's top-scoring defense, shooting just 21-of-53 (.396) from the field, including an icy 1-of-19 (.053) from three-point range. The Mids were also guilty of 21 turnovers.
"Once again, Army's defense was tremendous, and I have felt over the last three or four years, that its defense has been the best in the league, if not one of the best in the country," said Navy head coach Billy Lange, who dropped to 5-1 in his six Star Games. "We got some good looks early and when they didn't fall, I think we got a little frustrated. We hung in and kept battling, but its hard to come back against that defense."
The Black Knights held Chris Harris, the league's leading scorer and 21.5 ppg who scored 30 points in the team's first meeting, to just four points on 2-of-17 shooting and 0-of-7 from three-point range.
"I thought that Chris had four or five good looks early on that if they fell, it could have been a different game for him," said Lange. "It was just a tough night for him. He'll bounce back."
Army, meanwhile, shot 51.0 percent (26-of-51) from the field and was around 50.0 percent in each half. The Black Knights jumped out to a 15-2 lead with 11:33 to play in the first half. Navy would cut the lead to 25-16 with 3:41 left in the first half, but Army ended the half on an 11-4 spurt to grab a 36-20 halftime lead.
Navy would get the Army lead down to 39-25 on a Sugars' three-pointer, the Mids' only triple of the game, but Army quickly pushed the lead back to 19 at 44-25 with 17:45 left. Navy would get no closer than 15 points, the last time coming at 52-37 with 9:28 to play, the rest of the way, as Army snapped Navy's seven-year hold on the Alumni Trophy with a 69-50 decision.
"You just have to give credit to Army for their defense today," said Navy point guard O.J. Avworo, who had 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting. "They prepared well and really focused on shutting us down. It wasn't much of a different game from the first game. We just needed to be more patient on offense and needed more ball movement. When we did that, we got the shots we wanted. We just weren't patient enough. We'll go back and work on it and be ready for Wednesday night against American."
Navy had 21 turnovers to Army's 17, and the Black Knights outrebounded the Mids, 33-32.
Besides Avworo's 13 points, Sugars also had 13 points, eight rebounds and three steals. T.J. Topercer had eight points with four rebounds and two steals in 18 minutes off the bench.
Cleveland Richard led Army with 15 points while Chris Walker had 14 points with seven rebounds and three blocks.
Navy will return home for Senior Night on Wednesday against American, beginning at 7:00 pm. Navy's three seniors, Chris Harris, Scott Brooks and T.J. Topercer, will be honored before the game. For ticket information, call 1-800-US4-NAVY.
# GO NAVY #