Dec. 9, 2008
EMMITSBURG, Md. -- Kaleo Kina scored 26 points and Navy shot 59.1 percent in the second half to rally for a 68-65 victory over Mount St. Mary's on Tuesday night. The win improves Navy's record to 8-2 overall, while Mount St. Mary's drops to 3-5 overall.
Navy trailed 32-27 at halftime, but outscored the Mountaineers, 41-33, in the second half to rally for the victory.
"I am as proud of this team as I have ever been. This was a great effort for us and to bounce back after a disappointing loss to Virginia Tech on Sunday against a very, very good team is a great testament to our will and desire and focus," said Navy head coach Billy Lange. "I thought our defense was outstanding all night tonight and we showed great character to bounce back."
Kina scored 20 of his 26 points in the second half and finished the game 10-of-15 from the field, including 7-of-10 in the second half. Kina entered the game averaging 23.6 ppg and shooting 46.4 percent from the field in the six games prior to Tuesday's game.
Kina has now scored at least 26 points in five of the last seven games. With the game on the line, Kina scored 16 of Navy's last 25 points in the last 13 minutes of the game.
"We know what we are getting with Kaleo and he is just making plays. That is a credit to his maturity," said Lange. "He is such a great competitor, so we aren't surprised by his production. What I like about it is that he is doing it all in the role of the offense and letting the game come to him. He has accepted his role and has matured with it."
"We are playing confident right now. We prepare to win and we expect to win every time we take the floor," said Kina. "We all had to step up our play in the second half and we showed a lot of maturity the way we bounced back."
Mount St. Mary's jumped out to a 6-0 lead just moments into the game, but the Mids would take their first lead of the contest at 17-16 with 9:31 to play on a Clif Colbert lay-up. Navy would lead for the last time in the first half at 23-22 with 4:08 to play on a Chris Harris layup, but the Mount went on an 8-0 run for its biggest lead of the game and would settle in for a 32-27 halftime lead.
The Mountaineers still led 40-34 with 15:50 to play in the contest, but Navy answered with a quick 7-0 spurt giving the Mids a 41-40 advantage on a Chris Harris
three-pointer with 13:35 to play.
The two teams would trade punches for the next eight minutes, but Navy would take the lead for good at 56-55 on an Adam Teague three-pointer with 5:42 to play.
Navy pushed the lead to four at 62-58 on a pair of free throws with 3:26 to play, and for the last time with 16 seconds to play at 66-62 on two free throws by O.J. Avworo. However, a Will Holland three-pointer cut the lead to 66-65 with 8.5 seconds left.
Harris pushed the lead back to three at 68-65 with 6.5 seconds left, and the Mountaineers didn't get a potential game-tying shot off in time as Navy defeated Mount St. Mary's, 68-65.
The Mids recorded another strong defensive effort, limiting Mount St. Mary's to shoot just 37.3 percent from the field and 29.4 percent from the three-point line. Navy held the Mountaineers' Jeremy Goode to just eight points on 3-of-15 shooting. Goode entered the contest averaging 19.9 ppg. As a team, Mount St. Mary's was shooting 43.7 percent from the field entering the contest.
"Jeremy Goode is a fantastic player and I thought we played fantastic defense on him. To hold him to eight points and just 3-of-15 shooting shows what kind of job we did, especially O.J.," said Lange. "We had a goal of stopping him in transition and building a wall and making him play 1-on-5. I am very proud of our defense tonight. We talked a lot about stopping him and I thought we did a great job."
Lange and the coaching staff made the adjustment of not sending as many players to the offensive glass, hoping to slow down the Mount's transition game.
"They are the best team we have played in transition, and we needed to slow them down," said Lange. "We always had to have someone back. I thought we did a great job of that tonight."
Besides scoring 26 points, Kina added seven rebounds and four assists. Chris Harris scored 14 points and Adam Teague added nine points on three three-pointers. Avworo tallied six points with seven rebounds and three assists.
The Mids shot just 37.0 percent from the field in the first half, but shot 59.1 percent in the second half to shoot 46.9 percent (23-of-49) for the game. The Mids had 13 turnovers and were outrebounded, 34-33.
"We just moved the ball better in the second half. That was all it was," said Lange. "Our spacing was better, we went inside-out more and just played with more confidence."
Mount St. Mary's was led by Jean Cajou's 15 points, while Kelly Beidler scored 14 points with 11 rebounds. The Mount had nine turnovers.
Through 10 games, Navy has matched its best start in a season since the 1983-84 team started 9-1. The 1998-99 and 1984-85 teams also started the year 8-2.
Navy will be off for 11 days for final exams, before continuing its five-game roadswing on Dec. 20, at Canisius. Tip time is slated for 2:00 pm, in Buffalo, N.Y.
# GO NAVY #