Nov. 16, 2010
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- The Navy men's basketball team used an 11-0 run midway through the second half to break open a tight game and earn its first win of the season with a 74-62 victory over a pesky Neumann squad on Tuesday night. The win moves Navy's record to 1-2 overall, while Neumann fell to 0-2 overall.
The win was Navy's fifth in a row at home against non-conference foes and moves Navy's record against non-Patriot League foes to 13-2 since the start of the 2008-09 season.
"I'm encouraged by our fighting spirit in that game tonight. It's difficult for any team to go through droughts when you are not scoring, especially when you are getting stops on defense," said Navy head coach Billy Lange. "I was encouraged by our spirit and attitude tonight. That was a big positive coming out of this game. We still have a lot of work to do obviously to become a great team, but if you have that attitude, it shows a lot of character and will help us along."
The Mids trailed 45-44 with 13:37 to play in the see-saw contest, which featured seven ties and 12 lead changes, but took the lead for good with an 11-0 run over three minutes to take its first double-digit lead of the contest at 55-45 with 9:51 to play on a Jordan Sugars (Jr. / Winchester, Va.) three-pointer. The lead would not dip below six the rest of the evening and Navy would hold at least a 10-point lead over the final 5:49 of the contest.
The Mids, however, continued to shoot poorly from the field, connecting on just 24-of-69 (.348) shots from the field and a chilly 5-of-30 (.167) from three-point range.
"It felt like we went through portions that we took a lot of good shots. We just have to continue to keep pumping up guys that are taking the shots and not be so worried about missing shots. We need the guys that are taking them stay confident," said Lange. "It will get better. We just aren't collectively where we need to be on offense. I am encouraged that we are getting good, open shots. We will start knocking them down. I'm not happy about the shooting percentage, but I am not that concerned about it. It will come around."
The Mids jumped out of the gates early, grabbing a 7-0 lead just minutes into the game, but the Knights responded with an 11-2 run to take an 11-9 lead with 13:20 to play in the first half. Still tied at 14-14, Navy would embark on a 9-0 spurt to take its biggest lead of the first half at 23-14 with 6:59 to play.
But Neumann chipped away at the lead and would take a 35-33 break moments before halftime, when freshman Brennan Wyatt (Greensboro, N.C.) was fouled on a three-point try at the buzzer. Wyatt would connect on two of the three free throws to send the teams into the locker room tied at 35.
After Navy's 11-0 run early in the second half, Navy would stretch its lead to 67-52 with 3:55 to play on an emphatic dunk by Greg Brown (Sr. / Waldorf, Md.) and Navy cruised in for a 12-point victory down the stretch.
The Mids were led by Brown, who earned his second career start and responded with his first career double-double with career highs of 18 points and 11 rebounds. Brown would hit three of Navy's five three-pointers in the contest and scored 11 of his 18 points in the game's first 11-plus minutes.
"The win is a morale boost. We talked about it from the beginning not to get caught up in the ebb and flow of the season," said Brown. "We have been together as a team talking about it after the first two losses of the season. We knew we were going to bounce back."
Sugars added 16 points, six rebounds, three assists and three steals for his first double-digit game of the season. Freshman J.J. Avila (McAllen, Texas) scored six points with 10 rebounds, six assists, three blocks and two steals in a fine all-around game, while O.J. Avworo (Sr. / Houston, Texas) scored eight points with seven rebounds and five assists. Isaiah Roberts (Fr. / Pennsauken, N.J.) also added eight points, two rebounds, two assists and four steals.
The Mids forced 35 turnovers and were guilty of 25 turnovers themselves. Navy outrebounded Neumann, 47-43, including 17-9 on the offensive glass.
Patrick O'Conner led Neumann with 21 points and eight rebounds.
Navy will head west for three games in three days as part of the 2KSports Classic benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer. The Mids head to Irvine, Calif., to face UC Irvine (Friday / 10:30 ET), Louisiana Tech (Saturday / 8:00 ET) and Seattle U. (Sunday / 6:00 ET) this weekend. All three games will be carried by WNAV (1430 AM) with Pete Medhurst handling the call.
Navy improved to 1-2 this year and 1-0 at home ... the win was Navy's fifth straight win against a non-league foe ... Navy is 13-2 over the last three years against non-league foes at home ... Navy is now 28-13 under Lange at home against non-conference foes ... Navy improved to 4-3 in home openers under Lange ... Navy improved to 3-1 all-time on November 16.
The win was Lange's 82nd at Navy, moving him into a tie for sixth on Navy's career victories chart with Billy Lush (1909-10, 1919-22) ... the game was also his 179th coached, moving him into a tie for fifth on the Navy games coached list with Paul Evans (1981-86).
Navy saw a streak of 11 straight home games with at least six three-pointers end.
Navy improved to 51-11 under Lange when shooting more free throws than its opponent.
Mark Veazey became the school's 82nd 500-point career scorer ... he needed three points to reach 500 for his career and finished the night with six and 503 career points.
Greg Brown has seven of Navy's 13 three-pointers this year ... Brown recorded his first career double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds, both career highs ... Brown scored in double figures for the second straight game for the second time in his career ... he now has seven career double-figure games and leads the team in scoring at 11.7 ppg ... the start was his second career start (first was Long Island on Nov. 21, 2009).
Jordan Sugars made a three-pointer in his 16th straight game ... he now has 596 career points to rank tied for 67th on school's career scoring list.
J.J. Avila's 10 rebounds were the most for a Navy freshman since Romeo Garcia had 10 vs. Longwood on Jan. 5, 2008 ... his six assists were the most for a freshman since Kaleo Kina had seven against Lafayette on Feb. 11, 2006.
Neumann's 35 turnovers were the fourth most by an opponent in school history ... the 35 turnovers were the most since Merchant Marine Academy had 36 on Nov. 23, 2004.
Navy's 10 blocked shots are the most since the Mids blocked 14 shots on Jan. 5, 2000 ... the 10 blocked shots are the 11th most in school history.
Navy's five freshmen that played combined for 24 points, 16 rebounds, nine assists, four blocked shots and seven steals ... all five players that came off the bench for Navy tonight were freshmen.
CAREER HIGHS SET
-- Brennan Wyatt (points - 4)
-- Greg Brown (points - 18; rebounds - 11; blocked shots - 3)
-- Thurgood Wynn (points - 5; rebounds - 2)
-- Isaiah Roberts (points - 8; assists - 2; steals - 4; blocked shots - 1)
-- J.J. Avila (points - 6; rebounds - 10; assists - 6; blocked shots - 3; steals - 2)
# GO NAVY #