Dec. 22, 2010
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- Elon ended the game on a 22-5 run over the last five-plus minutes to hand the Navy men's basketball team a 73-58 setback on Wednesday night in Alumni Hall. The loss drops Navy to 4-9 overall, while Elon improved to 5-7.
The Mids took their first lead of the game at 53-51 on a Jordan Sugars (Jr. / Winchester, Va.) three-point play with 5:25 to play, but Elon countered with a 10-1 run over the next two minutes to put the game away. The Phoenix likely delivered the dagger when Chris Long heaved a 45-footer as the shot clock was winding down that caromed back to him. Long found a wide-open Sebastian Koch in the corner for a three-pointer that gave Elon a five-point lead at 59-54.
"We need to learn how to do the little things better. Our decision-making on both ends of the floor was lacking in experience, especially at the end of the game," said Navy head coach Billy Lange. "We just seemed a step slow for everything tonight. Elon is a good team and shot the three better than any team we have faced in our seven years here. They really put a lot of stress on your defense."
The Mids trailed by as many as 12 in the first half at 30-18, but Sugars rallied the Mids. Navy trailed 30-24 at the halftime break, but would eventually tie the game at 36 with 15:46 to play. Elon would recover and take a 47-41 advantage with 9:50 left, but the Midshipmen embarked on a 12-4 spurt, fueled by seven points by Sugars for their only lead of the night at 53-51, before Elon's big run ended the contest.
It marked the second straight game that Navy gave up a big run late in the game, as in the last outing against Mercer on Dec. 10, the Bears used a 13-2 at the end of the game to earn the five-point victory, 73-68.
Navy did some things out of the norm on Wednesday night, turning the ball over 23 times, while forcing 17 Elon turnovers, just the fourth time this year Navy lost the turnover battle. In addition, Navy was just 4-of-14 from three-point range (season lows in makes and attempts) and was just 16-of-29 (.552) from the free throw line. Lastly, Navy had just one player score in double figures, the first time since the second game of the season against Buffalo that happened.
"We did a lot of out of the ordinary things for us. Jordan had a good game, but it wasn't rhythmic and didn't come a lot in the offense. We have been pretty balanced this year scoring and we didn't get that tonight," said Lange. "That is not the vision for this team. There were times tonight that we had them out of rhythm, but we didn't take advantage."
Navy shot 19-of-41 (.463) from the field, but managed just three offensive rebounds, resulting in one second-chance point. Elon was 24-of-63 (.381) from the field, including 13-of-33 (.394) from three-point range. The Phoenix outrebounded Navy, 46-27. Elon's 13 three-pointers tied for the third most by an opponent in school history.
Sugars scored 21 points, his fourth 20-point game in the last five outings and eighth straight double-figure game, while adding six rebounds and two steals. Sugars went 9-of-14 from the field, including 8-of-10 from inside the three-point arc. Greg Brown (Sr. / Waldorf, Md.) added nine points, while O.J. Avworo (Sr. / Houston, Texas) scored seven points with six rebounds and two assists. J.J. Avila (Fr. / McAllen, Texas) scored eight points with three rebounds, two assists and one steal.
Drew Spradlin led four Elon players in double figures with 14 points.
Navy is off for eight days before hosting a very good Long Island team on Thursday, Dec. 30, in the last game of the 2010 portion of the season. Tickets are available prior to the game at Alumni Hall or by calling 1-800-US4-NAVY.
# GO NAVY #