Final Statistics: Army 69, Navy 50
Army Postgame Quotes
CBS College Sports Network Recap (Video)
WEST POINT, N.Y. – The Army men’s basketball team limited one of the Patriot League’s highest-scoring teams to 22 points below their season average in a 69-50 victory over Navy in front of a Christl Arena-record crowd of 5,163 on Saturday afternoon. The Black Knights claimed the “Star” game and the Alumni Trophy for the first time since 2002.
The Black Knights (14-12. 4-8 Patriot League) forced 21 turnovers and held the Mids (13-14, 7-5 Patriot League) to just 39.6 percent shooting for the game, including a 1-for-19 mark from three-point range (.053). Navy missed its first eight three-point shots, made its first attempt of the second half and then was zero for its last 10 from deep.
It was Navy’s lowest scoring output of the season and just the third time this year they did not score at least 60 points. Army, the league’s top-ranked scoring defense, improved to 13-2 this season when keeping opponents to less than 60 points.
The win snapped the Black Knights’ three-game losing streak.
Seniors Cleveland Richard and Chris Walker led the Army offense with 15 and 14 points, respectively. It was Richard’s career-best seventh straight game in double figures. Walker matched his season high in points and also grabbed a team-high seven rebounds. Junior G Mitch McDonald tallied eight points, three rebounds and three assists while committing only one turnover in 20 minutes.
Senior G Marcus Nelson recorded one blocked shot to tie the Academy record of 74 held by Jimmy Sewell (2003-07). Walker blocked three shots and stands fifth all-time with 52.
O.J. Avworo and Jordan Sugars both scored in double figures for the Mids with 13 points each. Romeo Garcia grabbed a game-high eight rebounds. Army put the clamps on Navy’s Chris Harris, allowing only four points 2-of-17 shooting overall and 0-for-7 from three-point range. Harris entered the game as the Patriot League’s leading scorer at 21.5 points per contest.
Army shot 51.0 percent for the game, its best shooting effort since 54.0 percent in a 20-point win over American on Jan. 20. The Black Knights are now 18-7 in their last 25 games when shooting at least 50.0 percent from the field.
Navy’s only lead in the game came in the opening minutes. Jeremy Wilson scored to put the Mids ahead 2-0 with 18:28 left in the first half, but the Black Knights reeled off 15 straight points to take a 13-point lead with 11:33 to go. Navy missed 11 straight shots before Alex Newsome’s putback basket ended a seven-minute, 43-second scoring drought.
Army pushed it lead to 21-6 following a layup by Richard, but after a Navy timeout, the Mids went on a 6-0 run to get within nine points at 21-12 with 6:05 left. The Black Knights’ lead fluctuated between nine and 13 points until they ended the half on an 11-4 run. Sophomore G Julian Simmons scored all seven of his points during the spurt, and Richard’s buzzer-beating layup sent the Black Knights into the locker room with a 36-20 lead.
Walker scored eight points in the first half, while Simmons hit three of his four shots, including a three-pointer, for seven points in just 11 minutes during the first 20 minutes. Sugars and Avworo each had six for the Mids in the first half.
The Black Knights were able to push their lead to 19 points in the opening minutes of the second half. A jumper by Richard put the Black Knights on top 44-25 with 17:45 to go. Navy slowly chipped away and made it a 15-point game at 52-37 with 9:28 left, but Army went on an 11-5 spurt over the next seven minutes to take its largest lead of the game at 63-42 with 2:52 left. Navy would get as close as 17 points the rest of the way before Nelson’s two free throws with 52 seconds left set the final margin.
Army and Navy have split the season series in each of the past seven seasons. It was Army’s largest margin of victory over the Mids since a 63-43 win in 2005, and its largest margin in a Star game since an 80-56 win during the 1969-70 season.
The win also improved the Black Knights’ record to 10-2 at home. Army plays its final two games in the friendly confines of Christl Arena.
Army continues its season-ending homestand on Wednesday, Feb. 24 versus Lafayette. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. The Leopards won the first meeting in Easton, 77-68, on Jan. 27.
Game Notes: Chris Walker came off the bench for the first time this season … Eric Zastoupil made his second start of the campaign … Army wore a special uniform for this game, comprising several different elements of older uniforms that included West Point across the chest and the “Kicking Mule” logo … Army’s seniors will be the first to sport a star on their letterman’s jacket since the class of 2002 … Saturday’s outing snapped the series’ eight-game streak of games decided by eight points or less … Army’s 14 wins equals or tops its win total from 22 of the last 23 seasons … Army’s victory assured the end of a 32-year streak in which the team lost at least four straight games at least once during a season … since the start of the 2007-08 season, Army is now 28-10 when leading at halftime and 10-1 in that span when leading by double digits after 20 minutes … Army is now 23-8 in its last 31 games when holding the rebounding edge … Army outscored the Mids at the line, 14-7 … the Black Knights are now 25-14 since the start of 2007-08 when shooting at least 15 foul shots and 18-7 in that span when making at least 13 from the stripe … Josh Miller made one steal to stretch his Academy record to 147 … Cleveland Richard made three steals to surpass George Tatum’s old mark of 143 and close within one of Miller (146) … Richard now has 950 career points with at least three games left on the schedule … Led by Walker, Army’s bench outscored the Mids’ reserves, 32-12 … Army needs only one more victory to clinch its first winning season since the 1984-85 squad went 16-13 … Zach Spiker has won more games than any other Army coach in his first season since Bob Knight went 18-8 during the 1965-66 season.