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Navy Uses Strong Defense to Top George Washington, 64-57

Jordan Sugars celebrates Navy's win over George Washington. Sugars scored 20 points in his first game back after a hand injury.

Jordan Sugars celebrates Navy's win over George Washington. Sugars scored 20 points in his first game back after a hand injury.

Dec. 5, 2010

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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Navy men's basketball team held George Washington to convert on just 31.0 percent of its field goal attempts and Jordan Sugars scored 20 points in his first game back from a hand injury to help the Midshipmen to a 64-57 victory over the Colonials in the 16th annual BB&T Classic on Sunday.

Navy improves to 4-6 overall, while George Washington falls to 2-5 overall. The Mids have now three of their last four games and are currently 2-0 on their current four-game road swing away from Annapolis.

Navy held George Washington to just 24.2 percent shooting in the second half and the Colonials made just 3-of-22 three-point tries against the smothering Navy defense. Navy also was outrebounded by just one, 38-37, against the athletic Colonials' front line.

"This is a nice win for us against a quality team. We really gutted it out, and it wasn't also pretty, but we made enough plays to get it done," said Navy head coach Billy Lange. "We had a chance to spend four days on just us. Our focus was on defense and defensive rebounding and we took a huge step in the right direction tonight. For them to have just 13 offensive rebounds with the percentage they shot is a big positive for us."

Meanwhile, Sugars returned to the lineup after missing the last three games with a laceration on left hand, suffered Nov. 23 in practice. Sugars played a team-high 33 minutes, making 8-of-13 shots from the field and 4-of-8 from three-point range for a game-high 20 points and seven rebounds.

"Jordan's passion and enthusiasm was very important tonight. He brought us a level of toughness that we definitely needed in this game," said Lange.

"I never sat out a game in my life, so that was hard over the last three games. I just stayed positive and cheered team on, but it was very good to be back and on the floor," said Sugars, who became the 11th player in school history with 100 three-pointers in his career. "I had all this energy and was just ready to go. I wasn't trying to force anything and it all came in the flow. The offense had played well in the last three games, so I didn't want to do anything to disrupt that."

The Mids trailed 7-2 early on just four minutes into the game, but Navy would rally and take the lead for good 21-19 on a Mark Veazey (Sr. / Lilburn, Ga.) layup with 8:50 left in the first half. The Mids would stretch the lead to 31-23 on a Greg Brown (Sr. / Waldorf, Md.) three-pointer and had their chances to stretch the lead even more, but came up empty on their final six possessions of the first half and would lead at halftime, 31-27.

Navy pushed the lead to 41-32 with 11:35 to play, but the Colonials went on a quick 6-0 run to cut the Midshipmen lead to 41-38. Navy responded with an 18-7 run capped off by a pair of Romeo Garcia (Sr. / Cypress, Texas) free throws to give Navy a 59-45 lead with 3:41 to play.

George Washington wouldn't quit, scoring eight straight points to trim the margin to 59-53 thanks to Navy missed free throws and turnovers, but the Mids made enough free throws in the final minute for the 64-57 victory.

Navy shot 20-of-44 (.455) from the field, 11-of-25 (.440) from three-point range and just 13-of-22 (.591) from the free throw line. Over the last four games, Navy is 43-of-107 (.402) from three-point range.

"We have a good formula that has worked for us over time and the three-point shot is it. We aren't going to hide from it. I don't think we live and die from it. Our opportunities are off of great looks and in the flow of the offense," said Lange. "When you penetrate and kick, you typically get a three-pointer. We needed to do it tonigh. Their athleticism and quickness made it hard, so it was big to make some threes. It's the way we play."

Navy was guilty of 20 turnovers, with 12 of them being steals by George Washington.

Besides Sugars' 20 points, O.J. Avworo (Sr. / Houston, Texas) joined him in double-figures with 10 points. Brown had nine points and five rebounds, J.J. Avila (Fr. / McAllen, Texas) had seven points and eight rebounds while Veazey also had seven points.

David Pellom led the Colonials with 11 points and 13 rebounds. George Washington had 15 turnovers and made 18-of-28 from the free throw line.

Navy has now won three of its last four games, including three straight games away from Annapolis.

"We have gotten a lot better since the start of the season. Our defense was just very solid tonight. We are thinking of the process more than the result. The results will take care of themselves," said Lange. "These guys want to get better. We were disappointed in how we ended the game tonight, but if we continue to think about getting better, we are going to be fine."

Navy returns to the floor on Tuesday night in Baltimore against Coppin State, beginning at 7:30 pm. The game will be aired on WNAV (1430 AM) with Pete Medhurst handling the call, beginning at 7:15 pm.

GAME NOTES
-- Billy Lange improved to 85-101 in his seventh year at Navy ... the Mids improved to 2-2 in the BB&T Classic, earning their first win since the 2005 event. Navy has played in the event three straight years ... Navy snapped a four-game skid to George Washington, earning its first win over the Colonials since Feb. 14, 1980 (69-65) ... GWU still leads the series, 21-20.
-- Navy is now 65-91 all-time against the Atlantic 10 ... it was Navy's first win against a current member of the Atlantic 10 since Feb. 20, 1995, vs. Fordham (W, 70-56).
-- Navy improved to 17-4 all-time on December 5, having won eight straight games on the date.
-- Navy has won three straight games away from Annapolis, by an average of 8.3 ppg.
-- Navy has made 69 three-pointers in the last seven games ... Navy had seven players make a three-pointer in a game for the first time since Feb. 7, 2007, vs. Lehigh (8 players) ... Navy has made at least four three-pointers in 13 straight games, dating back to last year.
-- Navy is now 54-11 (.831) under Lange when shooting a higher percentage from the field than its opponent ... Navy is 47-19 (.712) under Lange when shooting 42 percent or better from the field ... Navy is now 19-3 (.864) under Lange when holding foes under 59 points.
-- Navy has trailed for just 11 minutes, 43 seconds combined in the last three games away from Annapolis (0:00 vs. Towson; 4:34 vs. Mount St. Mary's; 7:09 vs. George Washington) ... in addition, Navy has not trailed in the last 30 minutes of any of the above-mentioned games.
-- Jordan Sugars recorded his 30th double-figure scoring game and his 10th 20-point game ... Navy is 6-4 when Sugars scores at least 20 points in a game ... he has now made at least one three-pointer in 20 straight games, dating back to last year ... Sugars surpassed 100 career three-pointers with four trifectas against GWU ... Sugars now has 103 career three-pointers.
-- O.J. Avworo recorded his 15th career double-figure game ... when Avworo scores in double-figures, the Mids are 9-6.
-- J.J. Avila saw his streak of 17 straight free throws to start his career end with a miss in the first half.
-- Isaiah Roberts has started the last four games (3-1 record) ... in the four starts, Roberts has 15 assists against just five turnovers ... in the last four games, Roberts is averaging 6.5 ppg, 3.8 apg and 1.8 spg in 30.8 mpg ... he has also made 4-of-10 three-point tries during that span.
-- Navy's freshmen scored 13 points with 13 rebounds ... the 13 points were the fewest for the class since the Buffalo game on Nov. 13.

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