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Navy Rolls Past UMES, 76-51, For Fourth Win in a Row

Chris Harris scored 21 points on seven three-pointers, the fifth most in school history, in the win over UMES.

Chris Harris scored 21 points on seven three-pointers, the fifth most in school history, in the win over UMES.

Nov. 25, 2008

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- Chris Harris connected on seven three-pointers and scored 21 points to lift the Navy men's basketball team to a 76-51 victory over Maryland-Eastern Shore on Tuesday night. The win was Navy's fourth in a row and improves the Mids to 4-1 overall. UMES drops to 0-3 overall.

"I'm proud of our guys and the way they responded tonight," said Navy head coach Billy Lange. "We had a stretch in the first half where we were out-toughed and out-energized and we really responded in the second half. We had a stretch of about six to 10 minutes in the second half where we played as well on both ends that we have played during my time at Navy. They responded well to our demands on focus and intensity and I was pleased to see that."

Navy jumped out to an 18-5 start just six minutes into the game, but then struggled on the offensive end, missing 14 straight shots and going without a field goal for 11-plus minutes while UMES answered with a 18-3 run to grab a 23-21 advantage with 5:40 to play.

"We were in an offensive slump and there is no reason that this team should miss 15 straight shots," said Lange. "The slump affected us defensively as well. When they make a run, every shot feels like it is worth 20 points, even though we were playing pretty good defense. They hit some really tough shots. Fortunately, we stayed tough on defense and that got us going again."

"We got a lead and we kind of lost focus. We think its going to be easy and that the other team will just give up," said Harris. "We need to settle down when we get a lead, and realize that we need to take it one possession at a time."

The Hawks still led 25-24 with 1:59 to play before Harris took over. He scored 18 points during a 32-8 Navy run that turned a two-point deficit into a 53-31 lead with 12:37 to play. Harris started the run with three three-pointers in the last 1:59 of the first half, then made three more in the first seven minutes of the second half.

"I just got some great looks tonight and the ball movement was really good," said Harris. "Early on, other guys were hitting shots and they were starting to focus on them. When we start hitting from the outside, its tough to guard just one guy. I just took what the defense gave me and the outside shot was open. It opened up with other guys stepping up offensively."

"Chris was a little tired early on after playing all 55 minutes on Saturday, but other guys were hitting," said Lange. "He just wasn't involved that much offensively and we were fine. I really admire his fortitude. I have just been very impressed with him this year. He has done a great job getting to the line this year and tonight, they gave him the outside shot and he knocked it down. He hit some shots tonight in the first half when we really needed them."

The Mids cruised in the last 10 minutes, with the Hawks getting no closer than 19 points in the final 13 minutes.

Despite the outcome, Navy shot just 9-of-27 (.333) from two-point range, but went 14-of-31 (.452) from three-point range.

"We shot the ball very poorly from 15 feet in tonight and that is a concern," said Lange. "The ball movement can still be better and have to get Chris (Harris) and O.J. (Avworo) on the same page. They are getting better, and we saw that in the second half, but O.J. is still learning how to run this offense. It will only keep getting better."

Navy had just 13 assists, but turned the ball over just nine times, including three in the second half. Over the last three games, Navy has 49 assists against just 41 turnovers.

Adam Teague added 14 points and four rebounds and two assists on 5-of-6 shooting, including 4-of-5 from three-point land. Kaleo Kina added 11 points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals. After turning the ball over 10 times in his first two games, Kina has just five turnovers in the last three games.

Ten players scored points for the Mids.

As a team, Navy shot 39.7 percent (23-of-58) from the field, and just 66.7 percent (16-of-24) from the field. The Mids were outrebounded, 44-36.

Maryland-Eastern Shore was led by Neal Pitt with eight points and nine rebounds. The Hawks shot just 28.6 percent (14-of-49) from the field, and were just 1-of-10 from three-point land. They went 22-of-36 from the free throw line, with 16 of their 26 second-half points coming from the free throw line. The Hawks committed 14 turnovers.

Navy is now 4-1 on the season for the first time since 2006-07 and can run its record to 5-1 on Saturday night against a good Radford team. Navy hasn't started 5-1 in a season since the 1998-99 team started the year 6-1 en route to a 20-7 record.

"We are maturing and growing. The things we talk about now are different than what we talked about four years ago," said Lange. "We have to get that killer instinct and learn that every possession counts, and learn how to play with the lead. The senior leadership on this team has been tremendous so far and we are looking for them to keep leading us."

Navy and Radford will battle on Saturday, Nov. 29, at 7:00 pm in Alumni Hall. Tickets can be purchased at Alumni Hall on the day of the game or by calling 1-800-US4-NAVY in advance.

GAME NOTES * Chris Harris' seven three-pointers are tied for the fifth most in school history, and it marks the third time he has made seven three-pointers in a game ... in the last two games, Harris is 13-of-28 from three-point range, after making six against William & Mary ... Harris has made a three-pointer in 26 straight games and has been in double-figures in 21-of-22 games ... in the last 26 games, Harris has 99 three-pointers ... he now has 10 career 20-point games... Adam Teague went over 600 career points in the win and over the last two games, Teague is 10-of-17 from three-point range ... when Adam Teague scores in double figures, Navy is 14-5 during his career ... Romeo Garcia missed his fifth straight game with an injured hamstring, but will go through an intense workout to test it on Wednesday. The team is off from practice on Wednesday, but will resume preparations for Radford on Thanksgiving Day ... Navy is 4-1 for the second time in the Lange tenure ... Navy's win over UMES was its fourth in a row over the Hawks, matching the third-longest active win streak against one opponent ... Navy improved to 33-8 under Lange when shooting a better percentage than its opponent ... Navy's 51 points allowed were the fewest allowed against a Division I opponent since allowing 44 against Lafayette on Jan. 13, 2007 ... Navy won its fifth straight non-conference home game ... Navy was outscored in the paint for the first time all season against the Hawks ... Navy will go for its 150th all-time win at Alumni Hall on Saturday night against Radford. The Mids are 149-87 all-time at Alumni Hall.

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