Navy Tops Penn In See-Saw Affair For Second Straight Win
Dec. 4, 2009
The win gave Navy two straight victories over the Quakers for the first time since the 1959-60 seasons.
"I'm proud of our guys. They did a great job on Chris Harris tonight and we had a lot of guys step up and make plays," said Navy head coach Billy Lange. "Penn played very hard tonight, but we found a way to win. I thought we played with great passion for 40 minutes."
The Mids and Quakers went back-and-forth for the entire night. Navy led 32-29 at halftime, jumped out to a 36-29 lead, but Penn would rally every time Navy threatened to pull away, finally taking a lead a 44-43 with 11:40 to play. But the Midshipmen countered with a 11-2 spurt over four-plus minutes to grab their largest lead of the game at 54-46.
Navy would still lead by eight at 63-55 with 3:28 to play, but the Quakers scored five quick points to trim the margin to 63-60 with 2:49 left. But Sugars would keep the Quakers at bay with back-to-back lay-ups to push the lead to 67-61 with 1:09 left.
The Midshipmen would then salt the game away by making 6-of-8 free throws in the final minute for the final six-point margin. Penn would get no closer than three points at 70-67 with 29 seconds left.
Sugars, meanwhile, paced Navy when Penn was focused on taking Harris away. The 6-3 sophomore guard made 7-of-13 shots from the field and recorded his second career double-double (21 pts., 12 rebs.) and his second career 20-point game (24 vs. Towson on Nov. 24).
"They did a phenomenal job on Chris (Harris) tonight, so we needed guys to step up," said Lange. "Jordan made the most of his opportunity tonight. He got some big rebounds for us, especially on the defensive end."
Sugars' scoring output just came from what the defense was giving the team.
"We just need to stay with the plan, and like Coach said, need to step up when we get the chance," said Sugars. "I just did what I needed to do to help the team win. We know what we need to do and that is just become more consistent. But we are getting better at being the team we want to be."
The Mids were aided at the free throw line, going 22-of-27 from the charity stripe. Navy went 18-of-23 in the second half alone, after going just 4-of-4 in the first half. Over the last five games, Navy is shooting 81.5 percent from the free throw stripe.
"We needed to get to the free throw line tonight, because they were really clamping down on the outside," said Lange. "I thought their defense was outstanding. We aren't interested in style points. The important thing is that we found a way to win. We made them when we had to."
Besides Sugars with 21 points, Harris had 16, including 11 in the second half. Mark Veazey contributed 13 points. The Mids shot just 37.9 percent from the field (22-of-58) and 30.4 percent from the three-point line (7-of-23). Navy outrebounded the taller Quakers, 40-39, and had 14 turnovers to Penn's 16.
"We have to just keep working and get better in every aspect," said Lange. "We finished tonight. We just need to finish better."
Jack Eggleston and Zack Rosen led Penn with 18 points.
Navy will now have a quick turnaround before Sunday's prestigious BB&T Classic at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C., beginning at 5:00 pm. Navy will face a strong George Washington (5-1) team, before Villanova battles Maryland in the nightcap.
"It will be a great atmosphere and we are looking forward to playing on Sunday," said Sugars. "But we can't get caught up in the arena and the atmosphere. We just have to go there and play our game and play hard for 40 minutes."
The Mids will have just one day to prepare for the Colonials.
"We are used to playing the two-game in three-day stretch, but not against a team the caliber of George Washington," said Lange. "We just have to prepare the best we can. Having been in the situation, we know how to prepare for it. We are looking forward to this great event and the opportunity to play in it."
The game will tip off at 5:00 pm, and will be carried regionally by MASN. Tickets will be available at the Verizon Center ticket office prior to the game.
# GO NAVY #