Feb. 23, 2011
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Navy went the last 7:34 of the contest without a field goal and American made 52.6 percent of its field goal attempts in handing the Navy men's basketball team a 69-58 setback at Bender Arena on Wednesday night.
The loss drops Navy to 10-19 overall and 5-8 in the Patriot League while American, which has already locked up the No. 2 seed for the Patriot League Tournament, improved to 20-8 overall and 10-3 in league play.
The loss, combined with other results from around the league, guarantees Navy that it will be on the road in next Wednesday's Patriot League Quarterfinal round, against Lehigh, Lafayette or Holy Cross. Navy can still finish in a tie for fourth in the league standings, but with Lehigh and Holy Cross sweeping Navy, it knocks Navy further down in the league's tournament pecking order.
Navy trailed 56-42 with 8:40 to play, before embarking on a quick 9-0 spurt fueled by two Greg Brown (Sr. / Waldorf, Md.) three-pointers and a trifecta from O.J. Avworo (Sr. / Houston, Texas) to cut the lead to 56-51 with 7:34 to play. The Navy run came after the Navy defense slapped on a full-court press causing three of American's 21 turnovers in the minute-long run.
However, Brown's three-pointer with 7:34 left would be Navy's last field goal and American's Nick Hendra connected on a pair of big three-pointers with 2:10 and 1:40 left in the contest to push the lead back to 11 and American would coast in for the 69-58 win.
"I thought we needed to put on the press and we got it down to a four-point game twice in the final six minutes. We had four or five possessions in a row where we got stops on defense and didn't score on offense. That was the ballgame. If we can score there, it might have been a different outcome," said Navy head coach Billy Lange.
"I really think about three things tonight hurt us. They made free throws and we didn't. Our seniors made too many mistakes defensively. And it took us awhile to establish our offensive motor," said Lange. "Those three things were the difference in the spread. I felt the game was closer than the score indicated, but those three areas really haunted us during their runs."
Navy led 11-9 seven minutes into the game, but went scoreless for the next six minutes while the Eagles went on a 15-0 run to grab a 24-11 advantage with 7:09 to play in the first half. The American run coincided with Navy freshman J.J. Avila
(McAllen, Texas) picking up two early fouls forcing him to the bench for most of the first half. Navy would trail by as many as 14 in the second half, before settling in for a 34-25 halftime deficit.
The Midshipmen would cut the margin to six twice early in the second half, but American would bump the lead to 50-34 with 11:37 to play and still led 56-42 when the Midshipmen started their run.
Navy would shoot just 18-of-51 (.353) from the field, but went 10-of-24 (.417) from three-point range. The Mids were just 8-of-27 (.296) from inside the three-point arc. Navy also went just 12-of-19 (.632) from the free throw line and had 12 turnovers.
American shot 20-of-38 (.526) from the field, 11-of-21 (.524) from three-point range and 18-of-22 (.818) from the free throw line. American won the rebounding battle, 33-26, but was guilty of 21 turnovers.
Brown led three Navy players in double figures with 16 points going 5-of-9 from the field, including 4-of-6 from three-point range. Jordan Sugars (Jr. / Winchester, Va.) scored 10 of his 11 points in the first half and grabbed a team-high six rebounds. Avila scored 10 points with three three-pointers in just 16 minutes before fouling out.
Vlad Moldoveanu and Troy Brewer combined for 44 points, with Moldoveanu scoring 28 of them on 7-of-13 shooting and 10-of-11 from the free throw line. Brewer, Moldoveanu and Hendra combined for all 11 of American's three-pointers.
Navy will host Colgate in the regular-season finale and "Senior Day" on Saturday, Feb. 26 at Alumni Hall, beginning at 4:00 pm. Tickets are available by calling 1-800-US4-NAVY, online at www.NavySports.com and at the Alumni Hall box office prior to the game.
# GO NAVY #