Feb. 10, 2009
Navy Game Notes (2-10-09)
NAVY (16-7 / 5-3 PL) vs. LEHIGH (13-9 / 3-5 PL)
Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2009 7:00 pm (ET)
Annapolis, Md. Alumni Hall (5,710)
Radio: WNAV (1430 AM / www.WNAV.com)
Radio Talent: Pete Medhurst
Live Video: NavySports.com (All-Access only)
Tickets: 1-800-US4-NAVY or available at game
Series: Navy leads, 43-15
Last Meeting: Jan. 14, 2009 (Navy, 63-58)
Family Night Out -- 4-tickets, 4-Coke products and 4-Esskay hotdogs for $24.
Coming off a historic win over Bucknell, the Navy men's basketball team looks to keep the momentum going on Wednesday night as Lehigh comes calling to Alumni Hall for a 7:00 pm tip-off. The Mids enter the contest with a 16-7 overall record and are firmly planted at third in the league standings with a 5-3 league mark. Lehigh, which was picked to finish second in the preseason poll, is 13-9 overall and is 3-5 in the Patriot League. The game will be carried by WNAV (1430 AM / wnav.com) and will be streamed online at NavySports.com as part of the Navy and Patriot League All-Access packages.
Lehigh enters the matchup with the Midshipmen having lost two games in a row at home to league leaders Holy Cross (67-52) and American (66-58). The Mountain Hawks recorded their best non-conference record in almost 25 years with a 10-4 non-league record, but started out league play with an 0-3 record and have since won three-of-six games since their slow league start.
Offensively, Lehigh ranks third in the league in scoring (65.6 ppg), but is seventh in field goal percentage (.392). The Mountain Hawks top the league by averaging just 12.8 turnovers per game. In league games only, Lehigh is sixth in scoring (59.6) and last in field goal percentage (.362) and three-point percentage (.278).
Defensively, Lehigh is allowing 63.1 ppg and foes are shooting just 38.5 percent from the field. The 63.1 points allowed average ranks fourth, while the 38.5 field goal percentage ranks first. The Mountain Hawks also rank second in rebounding margin (+3.5). In league games, foes are shooting just 39.2 percent (4th) and averaging just 62.9 ppg. Lehigh only forces 13.2 turnovers per game in league action.
Leading the way for Lehigh is the league's top rebounder, junior forward Zahir Carrington. Carrington paces Lehigh in points (14.3 ppg) and rebounds (8.2 rpg). He is shooting 43.4 percent from the field and leads the Patriot League with seven double-doubles, including a 20-point, 12-rebound performance on Saturday against American.
Guard Marquis Hall, also a junior, averages 13.8 ppg, 5.0 rpg and 4.4 apg to rank second in that category. Hall is the league's newest member of the 1,000-point club as he surpassed the barrier earlier this year, and he ranks tied for 13th on the Patriot League career assists list (357). Hall leads the team in steals with 35 as well as three-pointers made (42) and has an assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.63.
Sophomore Rob Keefer ranks third on the team in scoring (9.5 ppg) and also yanks down 3.5 rpg. Keefer is shooting 43.0 percent from the field and was the league's Rookie of the Year last year after averaging 7.8 ppg and making 44.5 percent of his 69 three-point tries.
Phil Anderson, who stands at 6-10, is one of the league's top three-point shooters, connecting on 40.0 percent from beyond the arc and avergaing 8.2 ppg and 6.0 rpg.
Head coach Brett Reed (Eckerd, 1995) is in his second year in charge at Lehigh, compiling a 28-24 overall record. A longtime assistant to Billy Taylor (now at Ball State), Reed led the Mountain Hawks to a 15-15 record last year and a tie for third in the Patriot League standings (7-7). The Mountain Hawks were picked second in the preseason poll this year.
The Series vs. The Mountain Hawks
Navy and Lehigh are meeting for the 59th time on Wednesday, with the Mids holding a commanding 43-15 series advantage. Navy has won four games in a row against the Mountain Hawks, the third-longest active winning streak against one opponent. Navy is 6-3 against the Mountain Hawks under Billy Lange, his best record against a Patriot League opponent. The four wins have come by an average margin of 6.3 ppg, with three of the four victories coming by five points.
The series dates back almost 100 years as Navy defeated Lehigh, 31-24, on Jan. 21, 1911. The first 11 games in the series were played in Annapolis, before the first game in Bethlehem, Pa., a 52-29 Navy win on Feb. 14, 1931. After playing 15 times from 1911 to 1934, the series took a 46-year break until Navy edged the Mountain Hawks, 68-67, in overtime in the Hatter Tournament in DeLand, Fla., on Jan. 2, 1980.
Navy won 37 of the first 44 meetings between the two teams, including 19 of the first 24 meetings since Navy joined the Patriot League in 1991-92. Since the start of the 2003 season, however, Lehigh has won eight-of-14 meetings.
The two teams have played incredibly competitive games in recent memory, as the last five meetings have been determined by 10 or fewer points. Since Billy Lange took over the reigns at Navy, eight of the nine games have been decided by 10 or fewer points, and the combined score is in Lehigh's favor, 624-603, an average margin of 2.3 points per contest (69.3 to 67.0).
Navy is 11-7 all-time at Alumni Hall against the Mountain Hawks, having won last year's meeting, 79-69, on Jan. 16. What is remarkable is that Navy is 17-4 all-time in Bethlehem, Pa., against the Mountan Hawks and have won three straight times there and four of the last five.
Navy rallied from 10 down in the second half to claim a thrilling 63-58 win over Lehigh in the team's first meeting (Jan. 14, 2009). Adam Teague completed the rally with a three-pointer with 3.5 seconds left to five the Mids a 61-58 advantage. Lehigh was then whistled for a technical foul after running the subsequent inbounds play with six players. Kaleo Kina led four Navy players in double figures with 18 points and nine rebounds, while Chris Harris, Teague and Mark Veazey had 13, 12 and 10 points, respectively. Zahir Carrington had 21 points and 11 rebounds for Lehigh, while Rob Keefer had 12 points. Marquis Hall was limited to three points by a tough Navy defense, which held Lehigh to just 31.7 percent shooting.
Happy Birthday to the Head Man
Navy head coach Billy Lange will be celebrating his 37th birthday on Wednesday night. When Lange took over prior to the 2004-05 season, he was the sixth-youngest head coach (33) in NCAA Division I. Now in his fifth year, Lange is 66-73 (.475) at Navy and is 105-92 (.533) overall. He will coach his 200th career game next Wednesday night at Holy Cross. He is now one of eight coaches in Navy history to record 60 victories at Navy.
Navy Quick Hits
Navy is 5-3 in league play for the first time since the 2000-01 season. Last year, Navy made its push towards the top of the league standings during the second half of the league season, winning six games in a row from Feb. 9-27. Dating back to last year's "rematch games" in the Patriot League, the Mids are 7-1 in the second time around the league schedule.
Navy was 3-5 (2004-05), 2-6 (2005-06), 1-7 (2006-07) and 4-4 (2007-08) after eight league games in Billy Lange's first four seasons at Navy.
The Mids are also guaranteed their second straight winning season. Navy hass not had back-to-back winning seasons since the 1999-00 (23-6) and 2000-01 (19-12) seasons. Navy is nine games over .500 for the first time since March 5, 2000, when Navy was 23-5. One more win for the Mids will give Navy the most victories in Billy Lange's tenure and Navy needs just four more wins for 20. Just eight previous teams in Navy history have won 20 games.
Navy continues to the lead the Patriot League in scoring (72.1 ppg). Navy has led the league in scoring in three of the past four years. Despite leading the league in scoring, Navy has surpassed the 80-point barrier just twice this year (102 vs. William & Mary; 81 vs. Longwood), but has been over 70 points 13 times. In games that Navy scores 70 or more points, the Mids are 11-2 with the losses coming to Virginia Tech and Army.
In all games played on the defensive side, Navy ranks sixth in scoring defense (69.7), second in field goal percentage defense (.408), first in three-point percentage defense (.299) and second in turnover margin (+0.26).
However, in league games only on the defensive end, Navy has struggled. The Mids rank eighth in scoring defense (68.1), sixth in field goal percentage defense (.415) and seventh in rebound margin (-4.2). The Mids do lead the league in turnover margin (+2.88) and are second in three-point percentage defense (.275).
The Mids rank in the top 100 nationally in three-point percentage defense (14th), free throw percentage (59th), three-pointers per game (68th) and field goal percentage defense (63rd).
Navy ranks 250th or lower in field goal percentage (280th), rebound margin (254th) and personal fouls per game (312th).
Navy has had at least three players score in double figures in each of the last 11 games. In the team's first 12 games, Navy had three players score in double figures just six times.
Navy has been held to 46.0 percent or lower shooting from the field in all eight league games. Meanwhile, Lafayette and Army shot season highs in percentage from the field against the Mids.
Navy has held three straight opponents and six-of-eight league foes to 69 or fewer points. In games this year that Navy holds foes to 69 or fewer points, the Mids are 12-2 with losses to Canisius and American.
Navy has had five different players lead the team in scoring this year, including four different leaders in the last four games. Adam Teague (16) paced the squad against Army, Kaleo Kina led the team against American (26) and Bucknell (17) and Chris Harris (17) and Mark Veazey (17) led the team in scoring against Colgate.
Navy has played extremely well at Alumni Hall, posting a 9-1 record, with the lone loss coming to American on Jan. 28. The Mids were undefeated at home in conference play, recording a 7-0 mark. Navy's best record ever at Alumni Hall came in 1996-97 (13-1 record). The Mids are outscoring foes by 7.8 ppg at Alumni Hall and shooting 44.1 percent from the field, 34.7 percent from three-point range and 69.0 percent from the free throw line. Defensively, Navy is giving up 65.8 ppg and opponents are shooting 39.9 percent.
Away from Annapolis, Navy is 7-6 and is getting outscored by 1.8 ppg (72.6 to 70.8). The Mids are shooting just 38.7 percent away from Alumni Hall and just 31.3 percent from three-point range. Opponents are at 41.6 and 27.7 percent, respectively. However, Navy is one of 26 teams nationally to have seven wins in true road games (through Monday's games).
One area that Navy shines at on the road is one that is the hardest to do -- free throw shooting. The Mids are shooting a sizzling 75.3 percent from the charity stripe in 13 games away from Alumni Hall. In the five league games away from Annapolis, Navy is shooting 99-of-127 (.780) from the free throw line.
# GO NAVY #