Navy Returns Home to Face Holy Cross on Wednesday Night
Feb. 16, 2010
WEDNESDAY'S GAME BASICS
After spending nearly a week in the Lehigh Valley, Navy (12-13 / 6-4 PL) returns home for a Wednesday night battle against preseason Patriot League favorite Holy Cross (7-18 / 4-6 PL). Navy, which saw its three-game winning streak snapped in an 83-77 setback at Lafayette on Saturday, looks to get back on track in the friendly confines of Alumni Hall, where the Mids are 9-3 and have won eight of their last nine games there. Holy Cross will look to improve on its 2-11 road record and win in Alumni Hall for the first time since the 2006-07 season. The game will be aired on WNAV (1430 AM) and SIRIUS (Ch. 152) with Pete Medhurst and Michael Heary providing the call. All-Access audio and video, as well as live stats, will be available on NavySports.com.
Navy and Holy Cross will meet for the 49th time on Wednesday night, with the Crusaders owning a 31-17 mark. The 14-game advantage is the third-best advantage for an opposing team over Navy behind Penn (33), Duke (15) and is tied with Princeton (14). The Crusaders have won two games in a row, while Navy has won three of the last five contests.
The Midshipmen are 10-11 in Annapolis against Holy Cross, but are 10-8 against Holy Cross in Alumni Hall, winning two games in a row.
Three of the last four games in the series have been decided by six or fewer points. However, just five of the last 19 games have been decided by single-digits. Navy is just 3-19 against Holy Cross since 2001.
Navy is 9-3 at home and 21-6 at Alumni Hall since the start of last year. Navy has won eight of its last nine home games, after starting the year 1-2 at Alumni Hall. The lone loss was a 90-77 decision against Lafayette.
In Navy's 12 home games (9-3), Navy is averaging 75.4 ppg while shooting 42.6 percent from the field, 41.6 percent from three-point range and 75.9 percent from the free throw line.
In its 13 games away from Annapolis (3-10), the Mids are averaging just 68.5 ppg while shooting 39.6 percent from the field, 32.3 percent from long distance and 68.9 percent from the free throw line.
Navy lost for the first time this year against Lafayette (83-77) in games decided by six or fewer points (6-1). Since the start of last year, Navy is 19-7 in games decided by six or fewer points and is 10-1 in games decided by three or fewer points.
Navy ranks 18th nationally in three-pointers per game (8.3), 56th in free throw percentage (.727) and 80th in three-point percentage (.365).
Navy is averaging a league-best 8.3 three-pointers made per game, ranking 18th nationally in that category, and putting Navy on a pace for 248 three-pointers, which would rank third all-time. Navy's 36.5 three-point percentage ranks sixth all-time at Navy. Already the 207 three-pointers rank as the fifth-best total in school history.
Navy is one of three schools nationally (Harvard and California) to rank in the nation's top 70 in free throw percentage in each of the last five years (including this year). Navy is currently 56th this year, shooting 72.7 percent from the free throw line.
On the individual charts, Chris Harris ranks 13th in scoring (21.6), 19th in three-pointers per game (3.0), 23rd in free throw percentage (.886), 64th in three-point percentage (.352) and 89th in steals (1.8). Jordan Sugars ranks 22nd nationally in three-point percentage (.417) and 89th in rebounding (8.2), while O.J. Avworo is 20th in assists (5.6) and 92nd in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.96).
Chris Harris continues to lead the Patriot League in scoring at 21.6 ppg. He is attempting to become the third different Navy player (Greg Sprink in 2007 and 2008; Kaleo Kina in 2009) to lead the Patriot League in scoring. His 21.6 ppg average ranks 10th in the Navy annals.
Harris has scored in double-figures in all 25 games this year, and his 25-game streak is the fifth-longest in school history. Harris has scored at least 20 points in seven of the last nine games, averaging 25.0 ppg during that span. He has 14 games or 20 or more points this year.
Harris needs 19 points to tie John Clune (1952-54) for sixth on the Navy career scoring list. Harris has 1,542 points.
Harris also needs just three points to move into the single-season top 10 list for points scored. He has 539, Don Lange (1954) has 542.
Harris needs just one three-pointer to move into third place on the Navy single-season three-pointers made list. He currently has 75 to rank tied for fifth. If and when he moves into third place, he will own the top three spots (91 in 2008, 85 in 2009).
Jordan Sugars needs just 17 points and 20 rebounds to become the sixth player in school history to record 400 points and 225 rebounds in a single season. He would be just the third sophomore (David Robinson and Vernon Butler) to accomplish the feat.
Over the last four games, O.J. Avworo has stepped up his game to new levels. Avworo is averaging 14.0 ppg while shooting 50.0 percent from the field and 63.9 percent from the free throw line. He is also averaging 8.3 apg against just 2.3 turnovers per game for an assist-to-turnover ratio of 3.67. Avworo became the first player in school history with 10 or more assists in three straight games.
SATURDAY'S LAFAYETTE RECAP
Jared Mintz scored 23 points and Lafayette used a 10-3 run midway through the second half to pull away for an 83-77 win on Saturday. The loss knocked Navy from the top spot in the Patriot League standings.
Chris Harris played just 24 minutes for Navy, but finished with a game-high 25 points. Harris got into foul trouble midway through the second half, and that was when Lafayette used its run to take a seven-point lead. Jordan Sugars added 21 and O.J. Avworo tied a career high with 17.
The loss allowed Lafayette to sweep the season series with Navy for the first time since the 2001-02 campaign and pulled the Leopards even with Navy in the Patriot League standings at 6-4.
The game was tied at 45 at halftime, as the teams shot a combined 32-of-64 (.500) in the first half. In the second half, Navy cooled to just 37.0 percent, while Lafayette went 17-of-24 from the free throw line in the final 20 minutes.
Navy outrebounded the Leopards, 36-32. It marked the first time in nine games (Lehigh on Jan. 14) that Navy outrebounded its foe. It was Navy's first loss in six games this year when outrebounding its opponent.
Navy dropped to 7-2 this year when shooting 42 percent or better from the field.
MIDS HOARD PATRIOT LEAGUE HONORS
On Monday, Chris Harris earned Patriot League Player of the Week honors for the third time this season, now sharing the league lead in weekly honors with American's Vlad Moldoveanu. Jordan Sugars (twice) and O.J. Avworo have also won weekly honors for Navy this year.
It's the first time since the 2003-04 season (Lafayette) that three different teammates won the Patriot League Player of the Week award. It's the second time a Navy team has accomplished it, the other coming in the 1998-99 season (Chris Williams, Skip Victor and Sitapha Savane).
It's the sixth time in 14 weeks that a Navy player has won the award this year. The next closest is American and Lafayette with three each.
It also marks the 11th time (in 30 weeks) since the start of last year that a Navy player has earned the award. American is next on the list with eight weekly honorees.
Navy players have now earned 37 Player of the Week honors and is behind just Holy Cross (45) and Bucknell (44) on the all-time list.
PREVIEWING HOLY CROSS
Holy Cross enters Wednesday's game at Navy with a 7-18 overall mark and currently sits in a fifth-place tie in the league standings at 4-6. The preseason pick to win the conference title, the Crusaders stumbled out of the gates, losing their first six games en route to a 3-12 non-conference mark. The Crusaders have shown signs of turning it around, winning back-to-back games twice in a row during league play. However, Holy Cross saw its two-game streak end after wins over Lafayette (73-46) and Army (70-56) on Sunday in a 68-63 loss to Bucknell.
Sophomore R.J. Evans, who was a pick for Player of the Year in many publications, leads Holy Cross in scoring at 13.7 ppg. Evans, a guard, is shooting 43.1 percent from the field, but is just 5-of-28 (.179) from three-point range and 80-of-154 (.519) from the free throw line. He is joined in double figures by reserve guard Devin Brown (12.9 ppg) and St. John's transfer Mike Cavataio (10.5 ppg). Brown is shooting 45.6 percent from three-point range, while Cavataio has a lethal pull-up jumper. Andrew Beinert (9.8 ppg) and Andrew Keister (9.4 ppg, league-best 8.9 rpg) also average close to double figures. Holy Cross is averaging 68.8 ppg and allows 71.6 ppg and outrebounds its foes by almost five boards per game. The Crusaders force just 11.0 turnovers per game, while committing 15.0 turnovers per game.
Sean Kearney (Scranton, 1981), who replaced legendary head coach Ralph Willard, who left to go to Louisville under Rick Pitino, is 7-18 in his first season as a collegiate head coach. Kearney had been a long-time assistant under Mike Brey at Notre Dame.
NAVY-HOLY CROSS SERIES HISTORY
Holy Cross owns a 31-17 record against Navy, the third-largest negative differential among any team Navy has played (Penn -33, Duke -15). In games played in Annapolis, Holy Cross is 11-10 against Navy, but the Mids are 10-8 at Alumni Hall and have won two home games in a row in the series. The series has been defined lately by streaks. Holy Cross is currently on a two-game streak, which was preceded by a Navy three-game run. Prior to the Navy run, the Crusaders won 17 in a row from Jan. 20, 2001, to Feb. 15, 2007. Before that Crusaders' stretch, the Mids had won eight in a row from Jan. 29, 1997, to Feb. 19, 2000. Holy Cross won the first six meetings in series history, with the first two contests coming in the 1947 and 1954 NCAA Tournaments.
LAST TIME AGAINST THE CRUSADERS (Box score found later in packet)
Holy Cross outscored Navy, 42-23, in the second half, including 14-0 in the last four-plus minutes to take the first game of the season series, 79-60, in Worcester on Jan. 20. Holy Cross shot 70.0 percent from the field in the second half and 61.7 percent for the game, while the Mids shot just 38.7 percent from the field and 22.2 percent from three-point range. The Crusaders overcame a minus-7 turnover differential by outrebounding the Mids, 37-28. R.J. Evans had 20 points, while Mike Cavataio had 15 and Andrew Keister had 13 points and 11 rebounds. Chris Harris, Jeremy Wilson and Jordan Sugars each had 13 for Navy. The 13 points for Harris were a season low.
THE BOOK ON HARRIS
Even senior guard Chris Harris seems to be outdoing himself as he tries to lead the Midshipmen to a Patriot League crown. Consider...
Harris ranks 11th in the country and first in the Patriot League in scoring. His 21.6 ppg average is the 10th best average in school history. He already has 539 points this year, ranking 12th on the single-season list and needing just 61 points to become the fourth player in school history to score 600 points in a season.
His 75 three-pointers this year rank as the fifth most in a season in school history and are the 21st most nationally. Harris already owns the top two spots on the single-season three-pointers made list (91 in 2008; 85 in 2009).
Harris is one of 18 players nationally to score in double figures in every game this year and his 25-game streak is the fifth-longest double-figures streak in school history.
Harris ranks 23rd nationally in free throw percentage and his 88.6 percent this year is the second-highest percentage in school history. He has had the two longest consecutive free throws made streaks this year in school history at 37 and 35, respectively.
Harris ranks seventh on the school's career scoring list (1,542 points) needing just 48 points to tie Michael Heary for fifth place. Harris is already one of two players (Kaleo Kina) to score 1,500 points, dish out 250 assists and grab 150 steals in a career.
Harris ranks first on the career three-pointers made list (275) and ranks fifth on the Patriot League list.
He has made 85.3 percent of his free throws during his career, ranking third in Patriot League annals and third all-time at Navy.
He is one of six Navy players with four 30-point games in a season and his five career 30-point games also ranks sixth.
Harris scored a career-high 40 points vs. Lehigh on Wednesday, the most for a Navy player ever in a Patriot League game.
The 40 points were the 11th most nationally this season, and the 11th most by a Navy player in school history.
In addition, Harris made eight three-pointers vs. Lehigh. Harris now has six of the top 15 single-game three-point totals in school history.
Navy has made a three-pointer in 209 straight games and at least three three-pointers in 169-of-171 games during the Lange era.
The Mids are shooting 48-of-106 (.453) from long distance in the last four games, with Navy winning three of them.
Using teams' league games only, Navy's 40.7 three-point percentage ranks 15th nationally.
The Mids' 15 three-pointers against Colgate tied for the second most in school history, while the 13 made against Coppin State, Lafayette and Bucknell tied for the 10th most in school history. Of the 25 times in school history that Navy has made 13 or more three-pointers in a game, 20 of the occurrences have come under Billy Lange.
Chris Harris' 75 three-pointers are tied for the fifth most in a single-season, while Jordan Sugars' 63 are the eighth most.
In addition, Sugars' 41.7 percent ranks eight on the single-season list, while Romeo Garcia's 40.8 percent is tied for 13th.
Lastly, Navy is shooting 36.5 percent from long range, the sixth-best percentage in school history. Navy's 207 three-pointers are already the fifth most in school history.
NAVY DEFENSE HAVING TOUGH TIME
The Navy defense has allowed eight opponents to score 80 or more points this year and over the last four games, foes are averaging 82.8 ppg. Navy is last in the Patriot League by almost four points a game in scoring defense (75.4 ppg) and is seventh in field goal percentage defense (.445). The Mids are also last in rebounding margin (-5.6). In league games only, Navy is last in points per game allowed (77.5) and field goal percentage defense (.462) and seventh in rebounding margin (-5.5).
Navy's 74.5 points per game allowed currently ranks as tied for the fourth-highest mark in school history, while the -5.6 rebounding margin ranks as the third worst ever (1969 and 1968 teams both were at -5.7).
NAVY DUO PROVIDING FIREPOWER
The Navy duo of Chris Harris and Jordan Sugars are averaging a combined 36.9 points per game between them, having scored 922 combined points this year. The pair has scored 51.4 percent of Navy's points this year and are on pace for 1,106 points, which would make them the seventh duo in school history to combine for 1,000 points. Harris is already part of two of the pairs that have reached 1,000 combined points as he and Greg Sprink combined for 1,087 points in 2008 and Harris and Kaleo Kina scored 1,004 points in 2009. As it stands right now, the pace of 1,106 points would be the fifth most in school history and if they both keep their current averages over 15.0 ppg, the duo would be just one of seven Navy pairs to each average 15.0 ppg.
Over the last six games (4-2), the pair has averaged 44.0 ppg (Harris 26.5, Sugars 17.5) between them, while shooting 82-of-171 (.480) from the field and 40-of-79 (.506) from three-point range. In addition, the pair has made 138 (Harris - 75, Sugars - 63) three-pointers between them. The total ranks fourth nationally for a pair behind duos from Sacred Heart (163), VMI (145) and Hartford (142).
STAR IN WAITING?
There is no secret that Chris Harris has waited for his opportunity to become Navy's primary offensive threat, playing behind Greg Sprink in 2008 and Kaleo Kina in 2009.
Now that Harris has taken the offensive reigns, a new offensive star appears to have emerged as a go-to-guy down the road. Jordan Sugars' 15.3 ppg average currently ranks as the fifth-best scoring average in school history by a Navy sophomore behind David Robinson (23.6), Kevin Sinnett (16.0), John Clune (21.2) and John Tolmie (17.5). In addition, his 8.2 rebound per game average is the fifth-best average for a sophomore.
Sugars is on pace this year for 460 points and 246 rebounds (30-game schedule), which would make him just the fifth player in school history (Eddie Reddick, David Robinson, Vernon Butler and Don Lange) with 400 points and 225 rebounds in a season and just the third sophomore (Butler and Robinson) to reach those marks. Just three players (Lange, Robinson and Butler) have had at least 250 rebounds in a season.
Sugars' 12.0 point per game improvement from last year is the second-best improvement by a player in the NCAA this year. Pittsburgh's Ashton Gibbs leads the way at a 12.5 points per game improvement from last year.
MAY I ASSIST YOU?
Since O.J. Avworo's insertion into the starting lineup at the start of last year, the junior transfer has accustomed himself nicely to Billy Lange's style of play. He is now playing the best basketball of his career, averaging 12.0 ppg and 7.5 apg over the last six games, against 15 turnovers.
Avworo already has 244 assists in just 54 career games, moving into 13th place on the school's career assists list. His per game average of 4.52 ranks fifth all-time behind Doug Wojcik (7.21), Mickey Hampton (5.93), Brian Walker (4.78) and Rob Romaine (4.71).
His 135 assists are the 15th most in a season, and he owns a 1.96 assist-to-turnover ratio this year. In league play, the ratio is 2.32 (65:28).
He became the first player in school history with 10 or more assists in three straight games (10 vs. Colgate, 10 vs. Bucknell, 11 vs. Lehigh).
Including his time at Idaho, Avworo now has 339 career assists (244 at Navy) in 85 games.
to West Point, N.Y., for its annual Star Game against Army on Saturday. Tip-off is at 2:00 pm and will be carried by the CBS College Sports Network. Navy will be looking for its eighth straight Star Game victory and the season sweep.
# GO NAVY #