Go Navy

Navy Men's Basketball Hosts MAC Power Buffalo in Home Opener




Nov. 18, 2009

Gameday Specifics
Thursday, November 19, 2009
7:00 pm (ET)
Annapolis, Md.
Alumni Hall (5,710)
Tickets
1-800-US4-NAVY or available at door
$8 for adults / $4 for students
Radio
WNAV (1430 AM / Annapolis)

WTOP (820 & 1500 AM / Washington, D.C.)

SIRIUS Satellite Radio: Channel TBATalent:Pete Medhurst, Michael Heary
Television
None

Records
Navy is 1-1 (0-0 Patriot League)

Buffalo is 0-1 (0-0 MAC)

Coaches
Billy Lange (Rowan, 1994) is in his sixth year at Navy (70-78 at Navy / 109-97 overall).

Reggie Witherspoon (Empire State College, 1995) is in his 11th year at Buffalo (126-172 at Buffalo / 170-195 overall).

Series
Overall Series Record
Series is tied, 1-1

Current Streak
Buffalo, Win-1

First Meeting
Feb. 20, 1957 (Navy, 80-50)

Last Meeting
Dec. 21, 2001 (Buffalo, 63-54)
At a Glance: Buffalo
Buffalo went 21-12 last year, won the MAC (East) regular-season title and advanced to the title game of the MAC Tournament. Head coach Reggie Witherspoon welcomes back four starters, including all-MAC first-team selection Rodney Pierce (14.3 ppg).

The Bulls dropped a tough 58-57 loss to Vermont on Saturday in their home opener. Titus Robinson had 16 points and 11 rebounds, but the Bulls shot just 30.9 percent from the field and were 3-of-16 from long distance.

Buffalo is coached by Reggie Witherspoon in his 11th year in charge. He owns a 126-172 record at Buffalo, and served as the head coach at Erie Community College prior to taking over the reigns at Buffalo. While at ECC, he posted a 44-23 mark in two seasons, and now owns a career mark of 170-195 in 12-plus years. Witherspoon owns a 1-0 record against Navy, defeating the Mids in the 2001 Yahoo! Sports Invitational, 63-54.

Game Notes | Navy Basketball Twitter | Gametracker | Navy All-Access | Listen (WNAV.com)

Game Night Storylines
• Navy hosts Buffalo in its season opener on Thursday night in Alumni Hall, beginning at 7:00 pm (ET). Of Navy's first four games, this is the only home contest, as the Mids will travel to the Big Apple for a Saturday night tilt with Long Island.
• Navy is 86-16 in home openers all-time, including 12-6 at Alumni Hall. The Mids are 3-2 in home openers under Billy Lange.
• The two teams have split two previous meetings. Navy won the first meeting, 80-50, way back in the 1956-57 campaign. Buffalo turned the tables in the 2001 Yahoo! Sports Invitational in Laie, Hawai'i, 63-54. Navy will return a trip to Buffalo in the 2010-11 campaign.
• Navy is just 3-10 all-time against MAC schools, playing six of the 12 teams in the league. Against leagues that Navy has played at least 10 games against, the .231 winning percentage is the worst of any conference in America. The Southeastern Conference at 7-12 (.368) is second on the list.
• Navy has three of the top seven scorers in the Patriot League (1st - Harris, 17.0; 5th - Sugars, 15.0; 7th - Garcia, 14.5).
• Navy has lost three straight games against MAC teams since an 89-81 win over Eastern Michigan on Dec. 28, 2002.
• Navy is looking for its second straight 2-1 start under Billy Lange and with a win, will start 2-1 for the fourth time in Lange's six years in charge.
O.J. Avworo and Romeo Garcia each scored career highs of 16 points to lead Navy to a 79-76 win over Longwood on Saturday. The duo combined to shoot 9-of-14 (.643) from the field and made 12 of Navy's 26 free throws.
Jordan Sugars was named Patriot League Player of the Week after scoring 30 points and grabbing 24 rebounds in two Navy games last week. He ranks fifth in the league in scoring (15.0 ppg) and first in rebounding (12.0 rpg).
• Navy's three starting guards of Chris Harris, O.J. Avworo and Jordan Sugars have played a combined 217 of 240 possible minutes. The trio played 117 of a possible 120 minutes against Radford, and 100 of 120 minutes against Longwood. Coach Billy Lange is searching for more backcourt depth, as guards off the bench managed to play just 13 minutes (all by Greg Brown) in the season's first two games.
Chris Harris leads the Patriot League in scoring at 17.0 ppg. He will be honored before Thursday's game for becoming the 19th player in school history to score 1,000 points, when he did so on March 4, 2009, vs. Colgate. He currently is 19th on the Navy career scoring chart and 62nd on the Patriot League list with 1,037 points.
• Harris moved into second on the school's career three-pointers made list last Friday night against Radford with 206. He passed former Navy great Michael Heary (1995-98), who is calling the game tonight for the Navy Radio Network. Harris' 206 three-pointers are the 12th most for an active player in the country (through Tuesday's games).
• Navy will be looking for its 10th straight home win against non-conference foes. Navy's last loss at home against a non-conference foe came on Dec. 3, 2007, against Mount St. Mary's, 62-58.
• In addition, Navy is looking for its seventh straight home win in the month of November, dating back to a Nov. 14, 2007 loss to Robert Morris.
• Since Billy Lange took over at Navy, the Mids are 22-11 (.667) against non-conference foes at home, including 16-4 (.800) since 2006-07.

Series History
• Thursday marks the third meeting all-time between the two schools.
• It will mark the first meeting since the 2001-02 season and the first meeting in Annapolis since the 1956-57 season.
• Navy is 1-1 all-time against Buffalo and lost the last meeting, 63-54, in Laie, Hawai'i. Navy shot just 4-of-23 (.174) in the first half, the fourth-lowest percentage in a half in school history.

November Success Under Lange
• Navy owns just a 16-15 all-time record in November under Lange, but since 2006-07, the Mids are 14-10, including 6-2 since the start of last November.
• Navy has won six straight home games in the month of November.
• Navy is 61-49 all-time during the month of November.

Previewing Buffalo
• Buffalo went 21-12 last year, won the MAC (East) regular-season title and advanced to the title game of the MAC Tournament. Head coach Reggie Witherspoon welcomes back four starters, including all-MAC first-team selection Rodney Pierce (14.3 ppg).
• The Bulls dropped a tough 58-57 loss to Vermont on Saturday in their home opener. Titus Robinson had 16 points and 11 rebounds, but the Bulls shot just 30.9 percent from the field and were 3-of-16 from long distance.
• Buffalo is coached by Reggie Witherspoon in his 11th year in charge. He owns a 126-172 record at Buffalo, and served as the head coach at Erie Community College prior to taking over the reigns at Buffalo. While at ECC, he posted a 44-23 mark in two seasons, and now owns a career mark of 170-195 in 12-plus years. Witherspoon owns a 1-0 record against Navy, defeating the Mids in the 2001 Yahoo! Sports Invitational, 63-54.

Up Next
• The road doesn't get any easier for the Navy basketball team this weekend as it heads to the Big Apple to face Long Island University on Saturday at 7:00 pm. The Blackbirds were picked to finish second in the competitive Northeast Conference race.
• Navy's first four games come against the preseason favorite in the Big South (Radford), the nation's top independent team (Longwood), the MAC East defending champ (Buffalo) and the No. 2 selection in the Northeast Conference (Long Island). Three of the four games will have been on the road.
• Navy leads the all-time series with Long Island, 3-0, but the two teams have not played since the 1964-65 season.

Last Time Out (Nov. 15, 2009 vs. Longwood)
• Navy won its first game of the 2009-10 season with a 79-76 victory over a scrappy Longwood team. The Mids trailed by as many as eight in the first half, then led by as many as 13 in the second half, before holding off a wild Longwood comeback for the three-point win.
O.J. Avworo and Romeo Garcia led four Navy players in double figures with 16 points each, both career highs. Jordan Sugars added 14 and Chris Harris overcame a tough shooting night (1-of-14) to score 13 points, thanks to a 10-for-10 performance at the free throw line. Sugars added eight rebounds, Garcia had six boards and Mark Veazey tied a career high with four blocked shots.
• Navy's two big offensive returnees, Harris and Veazey, combined to go 3-of-22 (.136) from the field (1-of-7 from three). The rest of the Navy contingent went 20-of-32 (.625) from the floor and 6-of-10 (.600) from three-point range.
• The Mids also were hurt by a 26-of-39 performance at the free throw line, with Avworo going just 6-of-17. The 12 other players managed to go 20-of-22 from the free throw stripe.
• Dana Smith, widely regarded the nation's best independent player, scored 22 points with 11 rebounds, seven assists and four steals. Aaron Mitchell added 16 points and Antwan Carter had 12.
• Navy trailed 19-11 with 11:53 to play in the game, but went on a 45-24 burst over the next 20 minutes for a 56-43 lead. Navy still led by nine with 53 seconds left, before turning the ball over three times and making just 3-of-6 free throws to give Longwood a chance late in the game.

On This Date (Nov. 19, 2009)
• Navy is 1-2 all-time on this date, and 1-1 under head coach Billy Lange.
• The Mids lost at Rice, 70-64 in overtime, to tip off the 1999-2000 season on Nov. 19, 1999.
• Navy then lost the first game of the Lange era on Nov. 19, falling at UMBC, 67-60, in 2004.
• The Mids defeated Stony Brook, 87-76, on Nov. 19, 2006. Chris Harris had 21 points and four assists in that game.
• The contest with Buffalo marks the first home game for Navy on Nov. 19, as all three previous games were on the road.

Home Sweet Home
• The Mids went 11-4 against non-conference foes and 7-0 against non-conference foes at home last year, their first undefeated record against non-conference foes in Alumni Hall history. The 11-4 record included wins over NCAA Tournament participant Radford, and conference tournament finalists, Mount St. Mary's and Texas-San Antonio.
• Navy enters this year as having won nine straight home games against non-conference foes, dating back to Dec. 3, 2007.
• Navy recorded a 12-3 mark at home last year, the most home wins since 1999-00 (16-2) and fourth most in Alumni Hall history.
• Navy owns a 158-90 (.637) record all-time in Alumni Hall, winning its 150th game in the facility against Radford.

On The Patriot League Leader Boards
• Navy is well-represented on the Patriot League leaderboard, both as a team and individually.
• As a team, Navy is third in scoring (72.0), first in three-point percentage defense (.182), first in rebounds (43.0), third in turnover margin (+1.50) and assists (13.0) and first in three-pointers made per game (8.00).
• Navy has the league leader in scoring (Chris Harris - 17.0 ppg), rebounding (Jordan Sugars - 12.0 rpg), steals (Chris Harris - 3.0 spg) and minutes played (Jordan Sugars and O.J. Avworo - 36.5 mpg).

Struggling at the Stripe
• Under head coach Billy Lange, Navy has recorded four of the top eight single-season free throw percentage totals in school history. Over the last four years, Navy is 1,762-of-2,398 (.735) from the charity stripe.
• However, this year's team has a ways to go to catch up to those previous marks. This year's team is shooting just 61.8 percent (34-of-55) from the free throw line in the first two games of the year, ranking 216th nationally and seventh in the Patriot League.
• In Friday's loss to Radford, the Mids shot just 50.0 percent (8-of-16), the lowest percentage since going 4-of-9 (.444) at Villanova on Nov. 25, 2006, a span of 84 games.
O.J. Avworo has been the one struggling the most, connecting on just 7-of-22 (.318) free throw attempts so far this year. Avworo entered the year as a career 61.1 percent free throw shooter.
• The other 12 players on the team are shooting 27-of-33 (.818) from the free throw line.

Sugars Named Player of the Week
• Navy sophomore Jordan Sugars was named the Patriot League Player of the Week on Monday after leading the Mids to a 1-1 record during their opening weekend of play.
• Sugars becomes just the fourth sophomore in school history to win the Patriot League POW award (Brian Walker, Chris Williams and Greg Sprink).
• Sugars, a 6-3, 210-pound guard from Winchester, Va., averaged 15.0 ppg and 12.0 rpg in Navy's two games last weekend. He shot 12-of-25 (.480) from the field, including 4-of-11 (.364) from three-point range.
• Making his first career start, Sugars had a monster game last Friday against Radford, logging career highs in points (16), rebounds (16), field goals made (6), field goals attempted (18), three-pointers made (3), three-pointers attempted (10) and minutes (40). Of his 16 rebounds, six were of the offensive variety.
• Then in Sunday's win over Longwood, Sugars went 6-of-7 from the field for 14 points and grabbed eight rebounds. He had 12 of his points and six of his rebounds in the decisive second half.
• Sugars' 16 rebounds were the most for a Navy player since Matt Fannin had 19 against American on Jan. 12, 2005.
• Sugars ranks fifth in the league in scoring and first in rebounding. He ranks 33rd nationally in rebounding, but among players that have played at least two games, Sugars is tied for sixth.

Harris Slumps Early, Turns It On Late
• It's no secret that Chris Harris is Navy's top offensive option, but he has gotten off to a slow start.
• He is shooting just 21.1 percent (8-of-38) from the field and 27.3 percent (6-of-22) from long range. After starting 4-of-4 from beyond the arc against Radford, Harris has gone just two of his last 18. Despite the struggles, Harris still ranks second in the league in scoring at 17.0 ppg.
• The slow start is nothing new to Harris, who has started slow in each of his previous two years as a starter.
• In the last 21 games of each of the first two seasons as a starter, Harris 136-of-326 (.417) from beyond the arc. In the first nine games (including this year) of his three seasons as a starter, Harris is 46-of-145 (.317) from three-point range.
Chris Harris has been the beneficiary of Lange's wide-open attack, having made 206 three-pointers in just 92 career games (2.24 per game). Since the start of the 2007-08 season, Harris has 182 three-pointers in 62 games (2.94 per game), and over the last 53 games, Harris has 171 three-pointers (3.23 per game).
• Harris will almost certainly become the school's career three-point leader, needing 31 three-pointers to pass Greg Sprink for the all-time lead.
• Harris has made five or more three-pointers in a game 13 different times in his career, helping Navy to a 7-6 mark in those games. Amazingly, he has made five or more three-pointers just six times at Alumni Hall, but seven times on the road, including eight a year ago against No. 18-ranked and Final Four-bound Villanova, the most for a non-conference opponent ever against the Wildcats.

Harris Listed Among Nation's Best Shooters
• Senior guard Chris Harris was named the nation's 21st-best shooter by Jeff Goodman of FoxSports.com. Harris ranks second on the school'scareer three-pointers made with 206, needing just 31 more to tie for the top spot at Navy.
• Harris was 10th among mid-major players and the only Patriot League player named to the list of the top 50.

Harris Serving As Team Captain
• Senior guard Chris Harris has been named the team captain for the 2009-10 season, after being a second-team all-Patriot League honoree in each of the last two years.
• The Mechanicsville, Va., native has scored 1,037 points and dished 207 assists, becoming the first Navy player in school history to score 1,000 points and dish out 200 assists by the end of his junior year.
• Harris is the leading returning scorer in the league after averaging 15.4 ppg a year ago. Last year, he ranked fourth among the league's returnees.
• Harris ranks 19th on the school's career scoring list with 1,037 points. He surpassed the 1,000-point barrier in last year's Patriot League Tournament contest against Colgate. Harris ranks 62nd on the career Patriot League scoring list. Harris, Lehigh's Marquis Hall and Colgate's Kyle Roemer are the only players with 1,000 career points.
• Harris also ranks second on the Navy career three-pointers made list with 206, passing Michael Heary for second place in the loss to Radford.
• He now needs just 31 more for the top spot in the Navy annals.
• His 206 three-pointers are the 12th most in the country for an active player.

Patriot League Snub?
• Despite being the league's top returning scorer, Chris Harris was left off the five-person preseason first team.
• Harris and Quinnipiac's James Feldeine (17.0 ppg last year) of the Northeast Conference are the only two players nationally to be the league's top returning scorer and left off their respective preseason all-league teams. Feldeine actually led the Northeast Conference in scoring last year.
• Ironically, Navy and Quinnipiac will battle on Nov. 30 in Annapolis.

Romeo Provides Big Boost
Romeo Garcia has long been known for his defensive prowess, but he is showing flashes of outstanding offense as well.
• Garcia has surpassed his career high in each of the last two games, going for 13 points against Radford, then tallying 16 against Longwood.
• During the two games, Garcia is shooting 60.0 percent (9-of-15) from the field, 50.0 percent (2-of-4) from three-point range and 90.0 percent (9-of-10) from the free throw line.
• Garcia is third on the team in scoring (14.5 ppg) and second in rebounding (7.0 rpg).
• The back-to-back outings in double figures marks the first time in his career that he has scored 10-plus points in back-to-back games.
• Garcia also has an assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.00 (4-to-2) and has added a block and a steal in 58 minutes of action. Per 40 minutes, Garcia averages 20.0 ppg and 9.7 rpg.

Avworo Gets to the Point
O.J. Avworo has continued where he left off last year, but has added a new element to his arsenal -- scoring.
• Avworo is fourth on the team averaging 10.5 ppg after tallying a career-best 16 points in the win over Longwood on Sunday. Avworo is averaging 10.5 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 5.5 apg and 1.5 spg, while playing outstanding defense as well.
• Avworo has however struggled from the free throw line, shooting just 31.8 percent (7-of-22) from the stripe this year. A career 60-percent free throw shooter, Avworo would be averaging 14.0 ppg had he shot his average.
• Nonetheless, over his last four games dating back to last year, Avworo is averaging 9.5 ppg, 5.0 rpg and 6.0 apg. In 32 career games at Navy, Avworo has 120 assists against just 91 turnovers.
• Avworo was recently named to the Cousy Award Watch list, given annually to the top college player that stands 6-0 or shorter. He is one of 38 Division I players on the list.

Veazey Mans The Middle
Mark Veazey tied a career high with four blocked shots, all coming in the second half, in last Sunday's win over Longwood. He also tied a career high with three assists, several times finding an open shooter on the wing after being doubled in the post.
• Veazey has 75 career blocked shots in just 61 games, ranking sixth on the career blocks per game list at Navy (1.23).
• The Mids are looking for more offensive production from Veazey, but he has struggled some this year, shooting just 20.0 percent (2-of-10) from the field in 38 minutes of action. Veazey entered the year shooting 49.8 percent from the field for his career.

Lange Turns Around Navy Fortunes
Billy Lange (Rowan, 1994) returns for his sixth year in charge at Navy, owning a 70-78 record on the banks of the Severn River. In his eighth year overall, he owns a 109-97 record after posting a 39-19 mark in two years at the Merchant Marine Academy in 2000 and 2001.
• Lange was named the 2008 Patriot League Coach of the Year after leading Navy to a second-place finish in the Patriot League after being picked seventh in the preseason poll. Last year, he led Navy to a third-place showing after being picked sixth.
• For his efforts last year, he was named one of 12 finalists for the prestigious Skip Prosser Award and was 10th in the mid-season voting for the Hugh Durham Mid-Major Coach of the Year Award.

Lange Climbing List
Billy Lange and Paul Evans are the only Navy coaches (out of 19) that have equaled or surpassed the previous year's win total in their first five years in charge.
• In addition, Lange's 69 wins in his first five years rank as the third most in school history. Navy's final RPI has climbed all the way from 304 in his first year at Navy to 167 a year ago.
• Lange's 70 wins at Navy are the seventh most in Navy history. He is chasing Billy Lush (1909-10, 1919-22), who is sixth with 82 wins.

The League's Top Scoring Attack
• Navy has led the Patriot League in scoring in four of Billy Lange's five years in charge, including two in a row. Navy led the league in scoring in 2004-05, 2005-06, 2007-08 and 2008-09.
• Holy Cross led the league in scoring five times in six years (1991-96) and four years in a row (1993-96). Holy Cross is the only program to ever lead the league in scoring three times in a row, let alone four times, as well as four times in a five-year span. Navy's 76.3 ppg average in 2007-08 was the highest in the league since Holy Cross averaged 77.2 ppg in 1995-96.

Looking For A Patriot League First
• Navy is trying to become the first school in league history to have the league's leading scorer in four straight years. Navy is already one of two schools (Holy Cross / 2005-07) to have won three straight individual scoring titles. The 2006-07 Patriot League scoring title was shared by Holy Cross' Keith Simmons, Navy's Greg Sprink and Army's Jarell Brown.
• The Mids have as good of a chance as anyone, as Chris Harris is the league's top returning scorer from a year ago at 15.4 ppg.

# GO NAVY #

 

 

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