Navy Scores 62-56 Comeback Win Over Black Knights

Final Statistics: Navy 62, Army 56

Army Postgame Quotes

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Navy used a 36-9 second-half run to overcome a 14-point deficit and score a 62-56 victory over Army in Saturday’s Patriot League men’s basketball game at Alumni Hall. The Black Knights led 39-25 with 16:11 left in the second half, but made just two field goals in the next 14 minutes, 49 seconds.

Navy (9-11, 3-2) has now won two in a row in the series since sweeping the 2002-03 games. The Black Knights (12-6, 2-3) have yet to win consecutive league games and have alternated wins and losses in the last seven games overall. The Navy win stopped a streak of six consecutive years in which Army had won the first meeting and Navy came back to win the annual "Star Game."

Sophomore G Julian Simmons was the only Army player in double figures with 16 points. He hit a pair of three-pointers late in the game to close the Army deficit to the final six-point margin. His first triple of the game stopped an 0 for 4 start for the Black Knights top scorer. Junior F Jeremy Hence and senior C Chris Walker each grabbed a team-high five rebounds.

Senior F Cleveland Richard handed out a team-high five assists to become only the fifth Army player ever to amass 200 career assists (204) and 100 career steals (133).

Navy guard Chris Harris, the Patriot League’s leading scorer, went for 30 points, including 22 in the second half. Harris was limited to only six minutes of work in the first half due to foul trouble, but still scored eight points, including a 2-for-2 effort from deep. He made five of his seven shot attempts in the second half, two of them from behind the arc. Harris also made 10 of 11 shots at the free throw line. He scored 15 of his points during the Mids’ decisive run.

Jordan Sugars and O.J. Avworo added 15 and 10 points, respectively. Sugars pulled down a game-high nine rebounds.

Free throw shooting was a major factor in the outcome with Navy holding a 24-9 edge at the line. Twenty of the Mids’ 43 points in the second half came from the free throw line. Navy shot 34 free throws, while the Black Knights took 12 attempts.

Army hit 40.4 percent of its shots for the game, but hit only two of its 13 attempts and committed nine of their 18 turnovers during Navy’s second-half spurt. The Mids connected on 41.0 percent from the floor, including 52.6 percent in the second half.

The Black Knights led 24-19 at the half and scored the first six points of the second half to extend their advantage to 11 points with 18:51 left. Harris ended the Navy drought with a three-pointer, but senior F Cleveland Richard responded with one of his two triples. Another Harris three-pointer was answered by Hence, and Richard’s second triple gave the Black Knights their largest lead of the game at 39-25 with just more than 16 minutes left. A jumper by Sugars started Navy’s surge, which was aided by 14 points at the free throw line, including its final eight markers.

Army then hit their cold stretch from the field. Simmons jumper in the lane ended a stretch of eight straight misses and trimmed the deficit to 61-50 with 1:11 left. The field goal was the Black Knights’ first in a span of eight minutes, 47 seconds. Harris then hit 1-of-2 free throws with 1:09 left to stretch the Navy lead back to 12, but Simmons hit back-to-back three-pointers, including an off-balanced bank shot with 2.5 seconds left to set the final margin.

Army came out of the gate firing, hitting its first three shots and taking a 6-0 lead. The Mids answered with 11 straight points, including all of Harris’ first-half markers to take a five-point lead with 12:46 left in the half. A reverse layup by senior G Tyrell Thompson ended a five-minute, 25-second Army scoring drought  and pulled the Black Knights within three at 11-8 with 12:23 to go.

With the Mids clinging to a 13-12 lead, Sugars drained a three at the end of the shot clock to push the lead to four points with 9:16 to go. The Black Knights held Navy without a field goal for the remainder of the half, going on a 12-3 run to take a five-point advantage into the locker room.

Simmons led the Black Knights with eight points in the first 20 minutes. The Army defense limited the Mids to a 30.0-percent field goal percentage (6-20).

The loss dropped the Black Knights to 1-7 when allowing opponents to score 60-or-more points this season.

Army heads to league-leading Lafayette on Wednesday for the second game of a three-game road stretch. The Leopards entered Saturday’s action as the only unbeaten team in Patriot League play (4-0).

Game Notes:  Head coach Zach Spiker became the seventh straight Army coach to lose his first Army-Navy game … Mike Krzyzewski was the last to do it during the 1975-76 season … Chris Harris’ 30 points were the most by an Army opponent since Lehigh’s Jose Olivero had 30 on Feb. 10, 2007 … the last nine Army-Navy games have been decided by eight points or less … in its seven losses, the Black Knights have been outscored 157-75 (-82) … Army’s total scoring deficit in those games is 66 points … the Black Knights were outscored after halftime for only the sixth time in 19 games … Army is now 8-2 this season when leading at intermission … Army has had at least one player in double figures in every game this season … the Black Knights are now 4-6 when turning the ball over at least 15 times … Navy’s starters accounted for 59 of its 62 points … The Mids outscored Army in the paint (18-14) and in points off turnovers (23-17) … Army is now 19-12 in its last 31 games decided by six points or less … the game feature 46 fouls, 27 of them whistled against the Black Knights … Tyrell Thompson tied his season high with 22 minutes of action.

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