Navy 59, Army 54
ANNAPOLIS, Md. Navy used a 22-2 second-half run to overcome a six-pointdeficit in the second half and hung on for a 59-54 win over Army in the annual “Star Game” on Saturday afternoon at Alumni Hall. The Black Knights trailed by 14 points following the Mids outburst, but used a 21-9 run of their own to slice the lead to two points with less than two minutes remaining.
The Black Knights (8-18, 4-8) have now split the season series Navy (18-9, 7-5) in each of the last six seasons. In each of those years, Army has won the first game, while the Mids have captured the Alumni Trophy with a victory in the second meeting of the season. Army’s last win in a “Star Game” was 2002.
Junior F Cleveland Richard led the Black Knights with 14 points and to go along with a game-high five assists and three steals. For the second time in three games, senior F John Moonshower scored in double figures despite limited minutes. Moonshower came off the bench and stroked a career-high four three-pointers in the second half en route to a season-high 12 points in only 11 minutes of work. Senior F Kenny Brewer led Army with seven rebounds, helping the team to a 39-37 edge on the glass. Junior G Marcus Nelson blocked three shots and now stands just one shy of the Army single-season record.
Chris Harris led the Mids with a game-high 17 points. Kaleo Kina was Navy’s only other double-digit scorer with 14 points. He also added a game-high eight rebounds.
Neither team shot the ball well, particularly in the first half. The Black Knights hit only 6 of 23 shots in the first 20 minutes, while the Mids were 6 of 22. The two teams also combined to commit 26 turnovers in the first half, contributing to Army’s 17-15 lead at halftime.
Both teams found their rhythm in the second half, connecting on over 40.0 percent. Navy was 13 of 29 (.448), including a 5 of 13 effort from three-point range, while Army hit 14 of 32 (.438), including 7 of 15 from deep. The Mids outscored the Black Knights 44-37 after halftime.
Navy’s entire margin of victory was accounted for at the foul line. The Mids were 15 of 23 from the stripe, while the Black Knights were 6 of 9.
Army turned its two-point halftime advantage into a six-point lead by scoring nine of the first 14 points in the second half. A layup by senior C Doug Williams put Army up 26-20 with 16:47 to go. Harris’ first three-pointer of the game jumpstarted Navy’s 22-2 spurt that gave them a 42-28 lead with 10:14 to go. The Black Knights’ only basket was a jumper by Richard that tied the game at 28-28 after Navy took its first lead of the game.
Moonshower ignited Army’s comeback attempt with his first triple of the game that ended a five-minute, 29-second scoring drought. Mark Veazey scored on the other end to make it 44-31, but a three-pointer by Richard and another triple by Moonshower were part of an 8-0 run that pulled the Black Knights within five points at 44-39 with 6:20 to go.
Kina scored four straight points to push the Mids back out in front by nine points, Army went on a 10-3 run to get back within a field goal at 51-49 with 1:32 to go. Navy led 53-51 when Adam Teague hit his only three-pointer of the game with the shot clock winding down to put Navy back in front by two possessions with 33.7 seconds left. The Black Knights turned the ball over on their next possession, and the Mids hit 3 of 4 free throws down the stretch to seal the win. Moonshower drained his fourth three-pointer, and Army’s sixth in the last 9:02, at the buzzer to set the final margin of victory.
Neither team mustered much offense in the first 20 minutes. The Mids scored first, but the Black Knights followed with nine straight points, all by Richard and freshman G Julian Simmons. Harris ended a six-minute, 42-second scoring drought for the Mids to make it 9-4, but Army scored the next five points to take its largest lead of the game at 14-4 with 12:05 left. The run was capped by a three-point play by Brewer.
Brewer’s basket was Army’s final field goal of the half as the Black Knights missed their last 13 shot attempts after a 6 for 10 start. Army went six minutes and eight seconds without a point before Williams hit two free throws to stop a 7-0 Navy run. Despite Army’s offensive struggles, Navy managed only two field goals in the final 10 minutes of the half, and the Black Knights led 17-15 at the break.
Army has now lost seven straight Patriot League regular-season road games. The Black Knights finish the season with road trips to Lafayette on Wednesday, Feb. 25 and Bucknell on Saturday, Feb. 28. Army defeated both teams earlier this season at Christl Arena.
Game Notes: Saturday’s game was broadcast regionally by CBS for the 14th straight season. CBS College Sports will begin broadcasting the “Star Game” nationally next season ... Julian Simmons was back in the starting lineup, marking the fifth straight game that Army used a different starting five than the previous game. It was Simmons’ first start in an Army-Navy game ... The Mids’ 59-54 win was the first meeting that both teams failed to reach 60 points since a 53-50 Army win 2007 (four games) ... Josh Miller had his three-game double-digit scoring streak versus Navy stopped with seven points, all in the second half ... John Moonshower now has scored 25 points in his last 33 minutes of play. He is 7 for 10 from three-point range in that stretch ... The two teams have now alternated victories in the last 12 meetings ... Army held a rebounding edge for only the fourth time this season ... The Black Knights are now 0-15 when opponents have a higher shooting percentage, while the Mids have not lost this season when shooting better than their foes ... Navy’s nine-point edge at the foul line marked the fifth time this season that the Black Knights’ margin of defeat could be accounted for at the free throw line.