Long Island Runs Past Navy, 96-86
J.J. Avila recorded his first career double-double with 21 points and 11 rebounds.
Dec. 30, 2010
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- Long Island U. sprinted to a 14-point halftime lead then held off every Navy challenge in the second half to defeat the Midshipmen, 96-86, on Thursday night in Alumni Hall. The Midshipmen drop to 4-10 overall, while Long Island improved to 9-4 overall.
Navy led 15-13 early on, but Long Island went on an 18-4 run to grab a 31-19 lead with just over eight minutes left to play in the first half. Long Island would still lead by 11 late in the half when Kyle Johnson hit a 40-foot runner at the buzzer to push the Blackbirds' lead to 14, 52-38, at the break.
"We knew coming into the game how gifted and talented LIU was and they are very good on the offensive end," said Navy head coach Billy Lange. "They got it going some in the first half and it just proved to be too much for us. We fought better in the second half and we had some chances to do some things, but the ball didn't bounce our way.
"We had no answer for Jason Brickman in the first half. He made great decisions in the first half and got their offense going," said Lange. "Of course we were disappointed giving up 52 points, but they play a very-high tempo, but we didn't get stops."
Navy would rally immediately in the second half, cutting the margin to eight (54-46) just moments into the second 20 minutes and would still trail just 61-53 with 14:13 to play on a three-point play by James Loupos (Fr. / Skillman, N.J.). The Mids then had three chances off LIU turnovers to cut into the margin deeper, but came up empty and the Blackbirds responded with a 9-1 run to take their largest lead of the game at 70-54 with 10:42 left.
Navy again wouldn't fold, eventually cutting the lead to six (88-82) with 1:12 to play, but could get no closer in suffering the 10-point setback.
Lange altered the lineup at the start of the game, starting three freshmen (Jacob Liebert, J.J. Avila and Brennan Wyatt) with Jordan Sugars (Jr. / Winchester, Va.) and Romeo Garcia (Sr. / Cypress, Texas).
"I was not pleased with our effort against Elon. I know it was after finals and that's part of it," said Lange. "Effort-wise, things weren't there. We made some competitive drills in practice to level the playing field and certain guys won out. I saw it work tonight. We rebounded the ball better tonight. We made an effort to block out and get the ball. I saw an attitude to get to the glass. I saw a little leap tonight that can make us be a better team down the road."
"If we didn't get the message this week, we better get the message," said Sugars. "We have to play harder and I am pretty sure everybody realized coach was serious about the changes that needed to be made. It's up to us to step up and make these changes."
Navy finished the game 32-of-71 (.451) from the field, but went just 3-of-23 (.130) from three-point range. Navy was 19-of-27 (.704) from the free throw line and had 19 assists against just 15 turnovers. The Mids were outrebounded, 45-33, but had 10 second-chance points to Long Island's five.
Long Island was 30-of-58 (.517) from the field, 7-of-19 (.368) from three-point range and 29-of-43 (.674) from the free throw line. LIU had 23 turnovers.
J.J. Avila (Fr. / McAllen, Texas) recorded his first career double-double with an outstanding statline of 21 points, 11 rebounds, five assists, a block and a steal in 33 minutes. Sugars added 21 points, nine rebounds and two assists. Brennan Wyatt (Fr. / Greensboro, N.C.) tallied 11 points, five assists, three rebounds and two steals in his first career start.
Kyle Johnson led Long Island with 15 points and 11 rebounds.
Navy hosts Presbyterian College on Sunday afternoon, beginning at 1:00 pm at Alumni Hall. Tickets are available at the Alumni Hall box office prior to the game.
# GO NAVY #