Harris and Sugars Combine For 61 Points in Win Over Towson
Nov. 24, 2009
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- Chris Harris and Jordan Sugars erupted for 61 combined points and Navy put together its best performance of the season in an 87-70 triumph over a good Towson team on Tuesday night at Alumni Hall.
The win improves Navy to 2-3, snapping a two-game losing skid in the process. Towson drops to 1-2 with the loss.
"We had a lot of things stacked up against us coming into this game, but I thought our guys responded with great passion. We played tough and with a lot of oneness. Basketball is a simple game if you do those things," said Navy head coach Billy Lange. "I thought our energy was great. Towson guarded us hard, which forced us to drive and kick the ball. We were very intelligent on the offensive end tonight. I thought the second half was as close to flawless as it could be at this time of the year."
Harris, who entered the game shooting just 24.3 percent, tallied 22 points in the first half, then added 15 in the second half for his second career 30-point game. His 37 points were the most for a Navy player since Michael Heary scored 38 against Holy Cross on Jan. 29, 1997.
In addition, Harris went 12-of-12 from the free throw line, and has now made 33 free throws in a row, one shy of Matt Sladky's school record of 34 set in the 1997 season.
"It feels good to get back on track, but it's a team thing," said Harris. "It comes from our passion and it starts on defense. If we give that effort every night, we can win a lot of games.
"I was still 3-of-9 from three-point range. I didn't shoot great and I missed some wide-open shots," said Harris, in reference to coming out of his slump by shooting 11-of-21 from the field. "It's going to come around. It still comes back to the team. We were moving and it was smooth tonight."
Harris consistently beat his man off the dribble, either scoring in the lane or drawing a foul and netting the 16th-most points in a game in school history.
"That is what they were giving me. I took what the defense gave me," said Harris. "I don't think I was doing a good job of taking what defenses gave me earlier this year and tonight, I thought I did a better job at that."
Navy jumped out fast, taking a 10-3 lead just four minutes into the game. Navy would push the lead to 10 with 4:15 left in the first half at 36-26, but Towson countered with a 13-4 run over three minutes to cut the lead to 40-39, before Navy settled for a 43-39 halftime lead.
Towson would draw to within one at 55-54 on a Josh Brown jumper with 14:42 left, but Harris surpassed the 30-point mark with a three-pointer on the next possession. Towson still trailed by four at 60-56 moments later, but the Mids went on a 12-4 spurt to grab a 72-60 advantage on a Jordan Sugars three-pointer with 8:53 left.
Towson would get no closer than eight the rest of the way and Navy ended the contest on a 9-0 run for its second victory of the season, 87-70.
Besides Harris going off for 37 points, Sugars had another strong game, tallying a career-high 24 points with eight rebounds and an assist. Sugars was 8-of-12 from the field and was 6-of-8 from three-point range. It was his first 20-point game of his career.
Navy received significant contributions from point guards Ted Connolly, who received his first start, and O.J. Avworo, who was questionable with a laceration on his hand suffered against Buffalo. The duo combined for nine assists (four by Connolly and five by Avworo) against seven turnovers in 41 minutes against Towson's constant pressure.
In addition, Romeo Garcia had a monster game. Despite scoring just two points, Garcia controlled the contest with seven rebounds, two steals and a career-best nine assists against just one turnover.
"I thought our two points guard played great tonight and Romeo really facilitated moving the ball. He acted like another point guard in our offense tonight." said Lange. "He had a fantastic game all the way around for us."
Navy's big men also played well as Mark Veazey, Jeremy Wilson, Alex Newsome and Pete Banos combined to shoot 7-of-12 from the field, scoring 18 points with 14 rebounds. Wilson recorded career highs of 10 points and five rebounds on 4-of-4 from the field.
"We have had a lot of guys with experience, but aren't experienced in their roles," said Lange. "Those guys need time. The more games we play, the better it will become. I thought our three guys off the bench really did some good things. Mark Veazey, once he got out of foul trouble in the second half, played well."
Navy shot 28-of-53 (.528) from the field and was 9-of-19 (.474) from three-point range. The Mids went 22-of-25 (.880) from the free throw line and over the last two games are 46-of-53 (.868) from the free throw line. Navy outrebounded the Tigers, 37-26, and had 21 assists against 18 turnovers.
Navy will host Northeast Conference favorite Mount St. Mary's on Saturday night at 7:00 pm in Alumni Hall. The game will be broadcast by Navy All-Access only, as WNAV will carry the football pregame show in preparation of that night's game against Hawaii.
# GO NAVY #