Late Mercer Run Stops Navy Basketball, 65-56
Dec. 30, 2011
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- Mercer used a late 10-2 run and shot 66.7 percent from the field to hand the Navy men's basketball team a 65-56 setback on Friday night in front of a season-high 2,555 fans at Alumni Hall.
The loss drops Navy to 3-10 overall, while Mercer improves to 9-6 on the season.
After leading by as many as four points early in the second half, Navy found itself trailing 55-52 with 2:09 to play in what would figure to be a key juncture of the contest. Navy grabbed a steal in the Mercer offensive end, but couldn't convert on a 2-on-1 fast break, allowing Mercer to gain possession and hit a three-pointer to push its lead to six and kick-start a 10-2 run over the next two minutes which put the game out of reach.
Mercer connected on two of its five three-pointers in the final 1:24 of the contest to aid the Bears' late offensive run.
"We didn't rebound, we didn't defend them in the second and we took some crazy shots at crucial times. We turned them over 22 times, but we don't convert enough when we do that," said Navy head coach Ed DeChellis. "We have so many young guys that are in new positions. When plays are there to be made, you have to make a play. We are just trying to figure out how to win games and we need to value possessions in close games and make basketball plays."
Navy struggled early on, making just one of its first nine shots and trailed 12-4 eight minutes into the contest. But the Mids answered by outscoring the Bears, 22-12, during the remainder of the half to take a 26-24 halftime lead.
Navy would still lead 34-30, but the Bears went on a quick 8-2 run and never trailed the rest of the way, the lead fluctuating between one and 11 for the remainder of the game.
Navy struggled on the defensive end for the fourth straight game. The Bears won despite having 14 fewer shot attempts and 22 turnovers, thanks to a sizzling 66.7 percent (24-of-36) performance from the field. The Bears shot 15-of-21 (.714) from the field in the second half after going 9-of-15 (.600) from the field in the first half.
Navy, meanwhile, shot just 38.0 percent (19-of-50) from the field and 25.0 percent (5-of-20) from three-point range. Navy committed just 13 turnovers, but was outrebounded by a 31-16 margin.
"We were just poor defensively in the second half tonight. We played hard, but we weren't focused enough. We just couldn't get a stop when we needed one," said DeChellis. "You can't win when a team shoots 71 percent in the second half. We are just trying to figure out how to win. We saw some bright spots. Mercer is a really good team. We just didn't have enough bright spots to win the game."
Jordan Sugars (Sr. / Winchester, Va.) snapped out of a shooting funk by tying a season-high with 21 points on 6-of-13 field goals and 4-of-7 from three-point range. J.J. Avila (So. / McAllen, Texas) added 16 points, seven rebounds and three assists, but went just 6-of-16 from the field.
The rest of the Navy squad went 7-of-21 (.333) from the field and 0-of-8 (.000) from three-point range to score just 19 points.
Gollon led Mercer with 12 points, eight rebounds and six assists. The Bears had seven players scored at least seven points during the contest.
Navy turns the calendar over on Sunday when it hosts Norfolk State on New Year's Day at 4:00 pm. The game will be streamed online free of charge as part of Navy All-Access on NavySports.com and the game only be available via radio on WNAV's website, www.wnav.com(.) Tickets are available one hour before game at the Alumni Hall box office.
Navy's starting lineup consisted on Sugars, Avila, Worth Smith, Wynn and Wyatt. It marked the first game with that lineup and sixth different starting lineup in just the 13th game this year ... Mercer's 66.7 field goal percentage was the ninth-highest percentage against Navy in school history ... Navy's 16 rebounds were the fewest by a Navy team in Alumni Hall history (280 games) ... over the last four games, opponents are shooting 103-of-186 (.554) from the field ... Jordan Sugars tied a season high with 21 points, also scoring 21 points in the opener against Longwood ... his 21 points equaled the number of points he scored in the previous four games combined ... it was his 56th career double-figure scoring game and 20th career 20-point game ... J.J. Avila recorded his ninth straight double-figure scoring game and 29th of his career ... he now has 554 career points, the 12th most by a sophomore in school history ... Avila now needs just one rebound to become the second sophomore in school history (Vernon Butler) to score 500 points, grab 250 rebounds and dish out 100 assists by the end of his sophomore year ... Avila has led the team in rebounding for four straight games and is averaging 19.3 ppg, 7.5 rpg and 3.5 apg over the last four games ... Isaiah Roberts' five assists tied a career high ... Brennan Wyatt set a career high with four steals.
# GO NAVY #