Nov. 20, 2010
IRVINE, Calif. -- The Navy men's basketball team played much better in the second half, but dug itself too deep of a hole in the first half, falling to UC Irvine, 75-60, in the 2KSports Classic benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer on Friday night. The loss drops Navy's record to 1-3 overall, while UC Irvine, which played Illinois and USC to close games, improved to 1-2 overall.
"I'm proud of our effort and I thought we played hard all night long," said Navy head coach Billy Lange. "Not one of our players quit tonight. Obviously, if you look at our stats right now, we are struggling to make some shots, but I thought we were much cleaner and crisper in the second half.
"I think when times get tough, you really need some leadership, and I think that is where we missed Romeo tonight," said Lange. "We need some players to step up in that aspect. We have to keep focusing on teamwork. We saw instances tonight of that, and I thought that we showed at times tonight that we can be very good defensively. We just need our offense to help out some, and it did some in the second half."
The Mids and Anteaters were tied at 10-10 with 11:30 to play in the first half, when Navy's offense went cold. The Mids went without a basket for over 10 minutes, while UC Irvine embarked on a 19-2 run to take a 29-12 lead with 1:36 to play. Mark Veazey (Sr. / Lilburn, Ga.) ended the slide with a jumper with 1:23 to play, but the Anteaters led 33-17 at the halftime break.
Navy would shoot just 18.8 percent (6-of-32) in the first half, commit eight turnovers and be outrebounded, 31-20, in the opening half. The Navy defense kept the Mids in it, holding UC Irvine to just 37.1 percent from the field while forcing nine turnovers.
UC Irvine would take its largest lead of the game at 53-29 with 12:25 to play, but the Mids wouldn't fold and used a 12-2 run of their own to trim the margin to 55-41 with 9:40 to play. Using a lineup of freshmen Brennan Wyatt (Greensboro, N.C.), J.J. Avila (McAllen, Texas) and Isaiah Roberts (Pennsauken, N.J.), junior Jordan Sugars (Winchester, Va.) and senior Greg Brown (Waldorf, Md.), Navy would cut 10 points off the Anteaters' lead in just over two minutes.
Navy would cut the lead to 12 at 59-47 on a Brown three-pointer with 7:01 to play, but would get no closer the rest of the way and UC Irvine handed the Mids their third loss of the year, 75-60.
For the game, Navy shot just 19-of-59 (.322) from the field and 10-of-33 (.303) from three-point range. The Mids were 12-of-18 (.667) from the free throw line. Navy was guilty of 14 turnovers, while getting outrebounded, 49-33.
UC Irvine shot 28-of-62 (.452) from the field and 6-of-17 (.353) from three-point range. The Anteaters had 17 turnovers.
Greg Brown led Navy with a career-high 21 points while making 5-of-10 three-point tries. Jordan Sugars added 12 points on 4-of-8 three-pointers with eight rebounds. Isaiah Roberts had seven points and three assists off the bench, while J.J. Avila had five points, eight rebounds, one assist and one steal. Brennan Wyatt led Navy with four assists in 20 minutes off the bench.
Darren Moore led UC Irvine with 19 points and 12 rebounds.
Navy continues play in Irvine on Saturday against Louisiana Tech at 8:00 pm (ET). WNAV (1430 AM) will carry the game with Pete Medhurst handling the call.
* The contest was the first meeting between the two teams ... it was also Navy's first game against a Big West Conference member ... Navy fell to 1-11 all-time against teams from the state of California.
* The 33 three-point attempts vs. UC Irvine were tied for the 10th most in a single-game by a Navy team in school history.
* Navy shot a season-best 48.1 percent in the second half, including 7-of-18 (.389) from three-point range ... Navy shot just 18.8 percent (6-of-32) from the field in the first half, the eighth-lowest percentage in a half in school history.
* Billy Lange fell to 15-28 on the road against non-conference foes ... Lange owns a 121-117 career record in his ninth year as a collegiate head coach ... Lange is now 82-98 in his seventh year at Navy ... the 180 games coached moved him into fifth place on the school's career games coached list.
* Greg Brown scored a career-high 21 points in the loss to UC Irvine ... its his third straight double-figure scoring game (first time in his career) ... he has eight career double-figure scoring efforts ... Brown is now 12-of-30 (.400) from three-point range this year.
* Jordan Sugars tallied 12 points on four three-pointers with a team-best eight rebounds ... Sugars has made a three-pointer in 17 straight games ... Sugars surpassed the 600-career point mark and now has 608 career points to rank tied for 61st on the Navy career scoring list.
* In the last two games, J.J. Avila has 18 rebounds, 11 points, seven assists, three blocked shots and three steals in 51 minutes of action.
* Navy freshmen combined for eight of Navy's 10 assists ... the freshmen class accounted for just eight turnovers in 91 minutes ... the 91 minutes were the most played by the class this year.
CAREER HIGHS SET
* Brennan Wyatt (Assists, 4; Minutes Played, 20)
* Greg Brown (Points, 21)
* Isaiah Roberts (Assists, 3)
* J.J. Avila (Minutes Played, 26)
# GO NAVY #