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Colgate Stops Navy in Patriot League Quarterfinals, 64-59

March 4, 2009

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- Colgate outscored Navy, 10-5, in the overtime session to hand the Navy men's basketball team a heartbreaking 64-59 setback in the Patriot League Quarterfinals on Wednesday night in Alumni Hall. The loss ends Navy's season at 19-11, equaling the most wins for the program since the 2000 season.

Colgate improved to 10-19 overall and moves into the semifinals on Sunday at Holy Cross. Navy had defeated Colgate just four days earlier, 77-64, and swept the Raiders in the season series this year.

The loss was also Navy's ninth in a row in a Patriot League Tournament game, and the Mids haven't won a quarterfinal game since the 2001 season. Five of Navy's nine losses in that span have come in overtime.

"We can only talk about where we have been and what this group has done. We lost to some very good teams in the past and then a halfcourt shot last year. This is our journey," said Navy head coach Billy Lange. "We have to get through this. We are kind of like two different programs within a program. Our older guys have been through tough times and younger guys have had success. In the end, we have to get to a point to win these games."

The Mids trailed by five with five minutes left in regulation, before ending regulation on a 13-8 run to send the game into overtime. However, Colgate scored the last four points from the free throw line after Navy had crawled to within 60-59 on an O.J. Avworo three-point play with 1:24 to play, to hold off the Midshipmen.

"I'm disappointed for our guys, but Colgate played a good game. It could have gone either way and it came down to who made a shot and who didn't make a shot, who got a stop and who didn't get a stop. In the end, they did it more than us," said Lange. "The game was there for us to take a ton of different times. I think right now and I look at this team, I am very proud. We were picked sixth and to finish third. I am not going to let one game decide the attitude and direction of this program. It was a heck of a year for our guys."

The Mids opened the game hot, making five of their first eight shots and jumping out to a 14-6 lead just over four minutes into the game. The lead would stretch to 10 at 24-14 with 5:50 to play, but Colgate went on a 7-0 run to trim the margin to 24-21 with 3:34 to play and would trail just 28-23 at halftime.

Navy would finish the first half shooting just 9-of-28 (.321) from the field, making just four of its last 20 shots from the field and committing all five of its turnovers in the last 10 minutes of the half.

"I felt at halftime we were making the game harder than it needed to be. We missed some really easy shots that would have given us more rhythm." said Lange. "Mark Veazey getting in foul trouble really hurt us. He was a big part of what we wanted to do tonight, and he never got in a rhythm. The ball just did not move the ball as well tonight as it did the other night."

"You gotta make shots. I thought our defense was pretty good tonight, but you gotta be able to make shots and be able to score 55 points in a home game," said Lange. "We were right there. We defended well enough to win."

After Navy scored the opening basket of the second half, Colgate went on a 9-0 run to grab a 32-30 lead with 15:20 to play. Navy would regain control and lead 39-36 with just under 10 minutes to play, when the Raiders used a 10-2 spurt to take their largest lead of the game at 46-41.

Navy would still trail by three (52-49) with just over two minutes to play when Kaleo Kina scored on a three-point play to tie the game at 52. Colgate's Yaw Gwayu scored off an offensive rebound with 1:48 to play, but Avworo tied the game at 54 with 1:32 to play. Navy then had three shots in the final minute to win the game, but could not connect, and the game went into overtime.

Chris Harris scored on a jumper on Navy's first possession of overtime for a 56-54 advantage, but Trevaron Vinson's three-pointer with 2:44 left gave Colgate a lead it would not relinquish at 59-56.

The Mids lost in last year's Patriot League Quarterfinal round in triple overtime, 87-86, to Bucknell. Kina said there were no similarities between the two games.

"I'm not even thinking of last year. All we thought about was this game. Unfortunately, we had to go out, but I am proud of the team and the guys. It's a great group to be around. We just didn't get it done down the end," said Kina. "It's up to us to execute. It just wasn't there for us. They weren't any different tonight than on Saturday. It was the same players. Maybe someone got a haircut or something, but they didn't play any different, they just played a little harder at the end."

Navy shot just 19-of-59 (.322) from the field and went 4-of-19 (.211) from three-point range. Navy was 17-of-19 (.895) from the free throw line and had 12 turnovers, while getting outrebounded, 40-39.

Kina led Navy with 23 points, his 27th double-figure game of the season. He finished his career with 1,528 points, 472 rebounds, 392 assists and 183 steals.

"Its unfortunate it has to end this early, and obviously we wanted to play longer. But we can't let this one game determine our outlook on season," said Kina. "It was a good season and program is in the right direction. It was a great bunch of guys to be around and I couldn't have been happier to be with these guys and with this team."

O.J. Avworo scored 11 points with four assists and went 7-of-7 from the free throw line. Adam Teague and Chris Harris scored eight points each. Teague added eight rebounds and Clif Colbert had seven boards. Harris became the 19th player in Navy history to surpass 1,000 career points and will enter next year with 1,003 points.

Colgate shot 22-of-53 (.415) from the field and went 7-of-13 (.538) from the field. Colgate was 13-of-25 (.520) from the free throw line and had 12 turnovers.

Sophomore Ben Jonson scored 22 points with 10 rebounds, freshman Yaw Gwayu had 20 points and eight rebounds and sophomore Mike Venezia scored 13 points.

Navy will return three starters (Mark Veazey, O.J. Avworo and Chris Harris) for next year's team and will welcome back the services of Romeo Garcia, who missed all but nine games with hamstring injuries this year.




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