Nov. 16, 2008
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- Chris Harris scored 22 points and the Navy men's basketball team ended the game on a 17-1 run over the final nine-plus minutes to defeat Howard, 66-55, in Sunday's home opener. The win evens Navy's record to 1-1 overall, while Howard drops to 1-1.
"We are still finding some offensive harmony, but today was better," said Navy head coach Billy Lange. "Over the last 10 minutes, I thought we were very sound defensively, and our defense really turned the game around for us."
Navy trailed 54-49 on a Howard three-pointer with 9:14 to play, before Navy put on the defensive clamps. Navy tied the game with 7:12 to play on a Clif Colbert (Grand Prairie, Texas) lay-up, then took the lead for good 38 seconds later on a three-pointer by freshman Jordan Sugars (Winchester, Va.).
Over the last nine minutes of the contest, Howard went 0-for-10 from the field and turned the ball over four times during that span, while Navy went 8-of-10 from the free throw line to put the game out of reach.
The game was a welcome bounceback effort for the Mids, after Friday's 86-68 loss to Towson. It was the second game in three days for Navy, and with Tuesday's night home game against St. Francis (N.Y.), Navy will have opened the season playing three games in a five-day span.
Navy turned the ball over 14 times after turning the ball over 18 times in the opener, and held Howard to 26 second-half points after giving up 49 to Towson in the second half on Friday night.
"The only way to learn is to play games, and I was glad we were able to play so quickly again after Friday," said Lange. "We wanted to get back out there and improve and I think we took a step forward today."
Navy started the game fast, jumping out to a 9-2 advantage in the first three-plus minutes. However, in the last 16 minutes of the half, Navy went just 6-of-26 (.231) from the field, before settling for a 32-29 halftime lead.
Howard opened the second half on a 16-7 run to grab its biggest lead of the game at 45-39 with 13:10 to play. Howard still led by six at 49-43, before the Mids started their final 23-6 run, which started with a Harris three-pointer.
"One of our focal points this year was how we would respond to adversity. When things got tough, we stayed together and stayed with the plan," said Harris. "It's a big confidence boost coming back the way we did. We were just able to feed off each other. Something needed to happen, and we did a great job running our offense and I got a good look. Fortunately, I was able to knock it down."
Navy shot just 34.5 percent (20-of-58) from the field, and went 7-of-21 (.333) from three-point range. The Mids also went a stellar 19-of-22 (.864) from the free throw line.
Howard went just 20-of-62 (.323) from the field, including just 10-of-35 (.286) in the second half. Howard was 3-of-16 (.188) from three-point range and 12-of-24 (.500) from the free throw line.
Both teams had 14 turnovers, while the Bison outrebounded the Mids, 46-44.
Sugars added 12 points and six rebounds, a block and a steal in 16 minutes off the bench. Sugars has started his career by making all four of his three-point attempts in the team's first two games. Senior Kaleo Kina (Phoenix, Ariz.) tallied 11 points, seven rebounds and two steals, and became the 18th player in school history to score 1,000 career points on a layup with 2:48 to play in the first half. Kina now has 1,010 career points.
In addition, Mark Veazey (Lilburn, Ga.), who was playing in his first game this year after missing Friday's game, scored six points with a team-best eight rebounds. O.J. Avworo (Houston, Texas) continued his improvement with four points, five assists, four rebounds and a steal.
Navy returns home for a Tuesday, Nov. 18, game against St. Francis (N.Y.) in Alumni Hall. Tip-off is slated for 7:00 pm.
# GO NAVY #