Feb. 27, 2010
HAMILTON, N.Y. -- Colgate sped out to a 50-24 lead, then held off a Navy rally in the second half to hand the Navy men's basketball team an 85-73 decision in the regular-season finale on Saturday.
The loss drops Navy to 13-16 overall and the Mids end their Patriot League slate with a 7-7 mark and in a fourth-place tie with American. However, the Eagles earned the fourth seed by virtue of a season sweep over Navy. Navy will travel to American for the Patriot League Quarterfinals on Wednesday night, at 7:00 pm in Bender Arena.
Colgate improved to 10-18 overall and 6-8 in the Patriot League.
"I was disappointed that we didn't come out more ready to play in the first half. We said all the right things and did all the right things in practice, but it just didn't carry over today," said Navy head coach Billy Lange. "Nonetheless, I have great confidence in this team and its ability to win three games now. It will just be a harder road than we wanted, but we know what is ahead of us."
Navy led the contest, 9-8, six minutes into the contest, but Colgate went on an 11-0 run to take a 19-9 advantage with 11:38 to play in the first half. The Mids still trailed 27-18, when the Raiders went on another big run, this one 13-1, to push their lead to 40-19 with 4:58 to play. The Raiders scored the last six points of the first half to take a 50-24 halftime lead.
Colgate took control in the first half by shooting 56.7 percent (17-of-30) in the first half, while the Mids shot just 30.4 percent (7-of-23) in the opening 20 minutes.
The Raiders still led 56-32 with 16:19 to play, when Navy started to chip away, using a 10-2 run of its own to trim the margin to 58-42 with 13:23 left. However, Colgate answered with back-to-back three-pointers to bump the lead back to 64-42, but Navy was not done, scoring the game's next 10 points to trim the Colgate lead to 12 with 7:14 left.
With 4:33 left, Navy had whittled the lead to eight at 69-61, when Kyle Roemer rebounded an airball off a Colgate three-pointer and got inside for a layup just before the shot clock was winding down to push the lead back to 10. The layup would kick-start an 8-0 Colgate run, giving the Raiders a 77-61 advantage.
Navy would get no closer than 12 points at the final margin of 85-73.
The Midshipmen got back in the game by cranking up the defensive pressure. After forcing just seven turnovers in the first half, Navy turned 18 Colgate turnovers into 25 points off turnovers. The Mids had just three turnovers in the second half and were plus-14 in turnover margin tonight, to offset a minus-17 differential in rebound margin (47-30).
"I am proud of our fight in the second half, when we could have folded," said Lange. "Our attitude in the second half was much better. It's tough to have to come back from that first half, but we never gave up and played very hard in the second half."
Navy shot just 35.1 percent (24-of-68) from the field and 24.1 percent (7-of-29) from three-point range. Navy also shot just 62.1 percent (18-of-29) from the free throw line.
Navy placed five players in double figures for the first time this season, as Chris Harris and Jordan Sugars led Navy with 18 points each. Greg Brown added 11 points off the bench, and O.J. Avworo and Romeo Garcia had 10 points each. Garcia added eight rebounds and three steals, while Avworo had six assists. Chris Harris added five steals, which forced 25 Colgate turnovers, a season-high for a Navy opponent.
Ben Jonson led Colgate with 22 points, Roemer had 18 points and Mitch Rolls scored 17.
Navy, the fifth seed in the upcoming Patriot League Tournament, will travel to Bender Arena in Washington, D.C., to face American, on Wednesday. The two teams waged a classic just three days ago, as American topped Navy, 80-77, in double overtime last Wednesday night. Tip-off for the PL Quarterfinals are set for 7:00 pm, and tickets are available for $12 for adults and $6 for youth 17 & under.
# GO NAVY #