March 2, 2010
Game Notes | All-Access | Twitter
|(5) Navy Midshipmen (13-16) at (4) American Eagles (10-19)|
|Date and Tip-off ||March 3, 2010, at 7:30 pm ET|
||Washington, D.C. | Bender Arena (3,044)|
|Video Streaming || Navy All-Access|
|Radio ||WNAV (1430 AM; Annapolis) | SIRIUS (Channel TBA)|
|| Pete Medhurst (play-by-play), Michael Heary (analyst)|
| Game Notes
||Navy | American|
WEDNESDAY'S GAME BASICS
Fifth-seeded Navy (13-16) will head on Highway-50 West into the Nation's Capital for the Patriot League Quarterfinals to face fourth-seeded American (10-19) on Wednesday (7:30 pm) at Bender Arena on the campus of American University. It will mark the second game against the Eagles in a seven-day span, as the Eagles defeated Navy on Senior Night, 80-77 in double overtime, just a week earlier. Both teams finished 7-7 in Patriot League play, but American won the tiebreaker ia the season sweep of Navy. The game will be carried by WNAV (1430 AM) and SIRIUS Satellite Radio (Channel TBA) with Pete Medhurst and Michael Heary on the mic. NavySports.com will carry the All-Access video and audio stream, and fans can receive text message updates on their cell phone from Navy's Twitter page at twitter.com/NavyAthletics.
TWO TOP TEAMS FACE OFF
Navy and American are the only schools in the Patriot League to each finish in the top half of the league standings in each of the last three years. The two teams tied for fourth this year. The Eagles are the two-time defending Patriot League champions, while Navy finished second in 2008 and third in 2009.
In addition, Wednesday's game will be one of two matchups between first-team All-Patriot League selections in Chris Harris of Navy and American's Vlad Moldoveanu. Moldoveanu is not eligible to be part of the league scoring race, but had he played enough games, the matchup would feature the top two scorers in the Patriot League.
In the first meeting, the duo combined for 58 points, while in the second matchup, the pair scored 49 points.
NAVY EXCELS IN CLOSE GAMES ... EXCEPT AGAINST AMERICAN
American is the only team in the last two years to defeat Navy in games decided by three points or less, and they did it twice. Last year, American topped Navy, 68-67, in Annapolis, and just seven days ago, the Eagles defeated the Midshipmen, 80-77, in double overtime. Against all other teams, Navy is 11-0 in games decided by three points or less since the start of last year.
The Mids are 7-2 this year, and 20-8 since the start of last year, in games decided by six or fewer points. Twenty of Navy's 32 wins since the start of last year have come by six or fewer points. Meanwhile, Navy is just 2-11 in games decided by double-figures this year, as 11 of Navy's 16 losses have come by 10 or more points.
NAVY STRONG BEHIND THE ARC
This year's Navy team ranks third on the Navy single-season list with 235 three-point bombs. Chris Harris (84) and Jordan Sugars (76) have combined for 160 of them, ranking third and fourth respectively on the single-season three-point chart.
Five of the top six single-season three-point totals have come during the Lange era (2008 - 1st; 2007 - 2nd; 2010 - 3rd; 2000 - 5th; 2006 - 6th).
In games that Navy makes 10 or more three-pointers, the Mids are 5-3 this year and 27-18 all-time under Billy Lange. However, when making 0-9 three-pointers, the Midshipmen are just 8-13 this year and 55-75 under Lange.
Navy enters Wednesday's game with American having made a three-pointer in 213 straight games and at least three three-pointers in 172-of-175 games during the Lange era.
Of the 25 times in school history that Navy has made 13 or more three-pointers in a game, 20 of the occurrences have come under Lange.
HARRIS NAMED FIRST-TEAM ALL-PATRIOT LEAGUE
Despite being the Patriot League's leading returning scorer entering 2009-10, Chris Harris was not named to the Patriot League preseason team. However, that all changed on Monday, when he was named to the All-Patriot League first team in voting done by league coaches.
Harris is the league's leading scorer (21.1 ppg) by almost three points per game, is first in three-pointers per game (2.9) and first in steals (2.0 spg). He is also second in free throw percentage (.871).
Harris becomes the seventh player in school history to earn Patriot League first-team honors (Hassan Booker, Michael Heary, Sitapha Savane, Chris Williams, Greg Sprink and Kaleo Kina) and is only the second player in school history (Chris Williams earned three first-team honors) to be named to three All-Patriot League teams. Harris was named to the second team in both 2008 and 2009.
Harris leading the league in scoring so far will likely make Navy just the second team in NCAA history to have three different players lead their respective conference in scoring in a four-year span, joining just Murray State in 1995-98 (Ohio Valley Conference).
SATURDAY'S COLGATE RECAP
Navy stumbled out of the gates early and dug itself a hole that was too great to overcome in an 85-73 loss at Colgate in Saturday's regular-season finale.
The loss, combined with an American win over Lafayette, dropped Navy to the fifth seed in the upcoming Patriot League Tournament.
Navy fell behind, 50-24, at halftime, thanks in large part to shooting 30.4 percent from the field, while Colgate shot 56.7 percent in the first half.
The 26-point halftime deficit was the fourth-largest in school history.
Despite the deficit, Navy had its chances, trimming the margin to 69-61 with just over four minutes left. The Mids got a stop, but Colgate gathered an offensive rebound off a fluky bounce and scored just before the shot clock expired to push the lead back to 10 points.
The Mids forced 18 second-half turnovers, which they converted into 25 second-chance points, offsetting a minus-17 rebounding margin (47-30). The Mids were plus-14 in turnover margin (11-25).
Chris Harris and Jordan Sugars scored 18 points each to lead five Navy players in double figures. Harris, however, was just 6-of-26 from the field, and missed three free throws for just the second time in his career (4-of-7). The other came last year against Texas-San Antonio (1-of-4).
When Navy has at least four players in double-figures, the Mids are 6-1 this year with wins over Bucknell (twice), Longwood, Elon, Lehigh and Holy Cross. Without four in double-figures, Navy is 7-15.
Amazingly, Navy is 0-1 when having five players in double figures, as five players scored 10 or more points in the loss to Colgate on Saturday. It marked the first time since Jan. 2, 2009, vs. Wofford that Navy placed five in double-figures.
In each of the last three years, Navy has been picked sixth or lower, but has easily exceeded those expectations.
In 2007-08, despite returning four starters and the league's leading returning scorer in Greg Sprink, Navy was picked seventh in the preseason poll. The Mids ended the year second in the final standings and had a chance to win the regular-season crown on the final day of the season. Navy went 16-14 (9-5 PL) that year.
Last season, Navy was picked sixth despite once again returning four starters and a pair of double-digit scorers in Kaleo Kina and Chris Harris. The Mids finished third with a 19-11 overall record and an 8-6 Patriot League mark.
This year, despite returning three starters, another player who started all year as a freshman (junior Romeo Garcia) and the league's leading returning scorer in Chris Harris, Navy was picked seventh in the preseason poll. The Mids finished in a fourth-place tie in the league standings with a 7-7 league record, and have swept the top two seeds in the league, Lehigh and Bucknell.
THE HARDEST THING
Did you realize that Navy has as many true road wins this season (3) as the combined total of DePaul (0), Louisiana State (0), Air Force (0), Georgia (0), Colorado (0), Oklahoma (1), South Carolina (1) and Indiana (1)?
MIDS ENTER TOURNAMENT ON SKID
After winning three games in a row from Jan. 30 to Feb. 10, the Mids have lost four of their last five games and enter the tournament on a thre-game slide.
During the three-game skid, Navy has been outscored by an average of 78.0 to 66.7 points per game, and is shooting just 72-of-188 (.383) from the field, 19-of-77 (.247) from three-point range and 37-of-61 (.607) from the free throw line.
In addition, foes are shooting 49.0 percent (77-of-157) from the field and outrebounding Navy, 41.7 to 34.0 per game.
Foes have made more free throws (68) than Navy has attempted (61) during the slide.
The Mids also have just 29 assists against 50 turnovers.
In the first half, Navy has been outscored 124-74 (41.3 to 24.7), while shooting 35.1 percent (27-of-77) from the field and an icy 14.8 percent (4-of-27) from long range. Opponents are shooting 51.1 percent (46-of-90) from the field over the last three games in the first half.
Also, Navy has just 10 assists against 26 turnovers in the first half, while opponents have 28 assists against 19 turnovers in the opening 20 minutes of the last three games.
Navy's big gun of Chris Harris is just 19-of-65 (.292) from the field, 5-of-23 (.217) from long range and is 9-of-14 (.643) from the free throw line in the last three games.
NAVY DEFENSE HAVING TOUGH TIME
The Navy defense has allowed 11-of-29 opponents to score 80 or more points this year and over the last eight games, foes are averaging 80.6 ppg while shooting 46.5 percent. Navy is last in the Patriot League by almost four points a game in scoring defense (75.8 ppg) and is seventh in field goal percentage defense (.451). The Mids are also last in rebounding margin (-6.2). In league games only, Navy was last in points per game allowed (77.8), field goal percentage defense (.469) and rebounding margin (-6.8).
Navy's 75.8 points per game allowed currently ranks as the third-highest mark in school history, while the -6.2 rebounding margin ranks as the worst ever.
Navy has given up 2,199 points, currently the fifth-most points allowed in school history and barring a miraculous defensive effort against American (holding the Eagles to just 17 points or less), this year's team will move into second place on that list.
RARE FEAT TO LEAD THE LEAGUE
Navy will likely become the first school in Patriot League history to have an individual lead the league in scoring in four straight years. Greg Sprink led the league in scoring in 2007 (16.9) and 2008 (21.8), Kaleo Kina led the league in scoring a year ago (18.0) and Chris Harris currently leads the league in scoring this year (21.1).
Just two other programs in NCAA history have led their respective leagues in scoring in four straight seasons. Two Louisiana-Lafayette players led the Southland in scoring from 1978-81, while three Murray State players led the Ohio Valley in scoring from 1995-98.
In addition, O.J. Avworo is tied for the league lead in assists (5.7 apg), giving Navy a 1-2 punch at the guard spots. The last Navy player to lead the Patriot League in assists was Brian Walker in 1997 (5.1 apg). Avworo's current average of 5.68 assists per game ranks just outside the top 10 on the single-season list in league history.
Only twice before has a pair of teammates led the league in scoring and assists. Holy Cross' Kevin Hamilton (17.6 ppg) and Tory Thomas (4.8 apg) in 2006, and Lehigh's Brett Eppenhimer (24.7 ppg) and Tiwuan Hawkins (4.5 apg) in 1998 were PL leaders, respectively.
NAVY DUO PROVIDING FIREPOWER
The Navy duo of Chris Harris and Jordan Sugars is averaging a combined 37.0 points per game between them, having scored 1,072 combined points this year. The pair has scored 51.6 percent of Navy's points.
The 37.0 ppg by Harris and Sugars ranks as tied for the eighth-best average nationally by a pair of teammates.
Throw O.J. Avworo into the mix, and the trio of Harris, Sugars and Avworo average 44.8 ppg between them and have 1,299 points, the eighth-most points for a Navy trio in school history.
Navy used to be a permanent fixture among the national leaders in rebounding margin, leading the country in 1995 and pacing the Patriot League in every year from 1993 to 2000, and then again in 2005.
However, this year's team ranks 317th of 334 teams in rebounding margin at minus-6.2, a new school record for worst rebounding margin.
Navy has been outrebounded in 20 games this year, posting a 6-14 record in such games. In games that Navy wins the glass, the Mids are 5-1.
Navy has been outrebounded in four straight games (minus-10.3) and in nine of the last 11 games (minus-7.9).
THE BOOK ON HARRIS
Chris Harris ranks 18th in the country and first in the Patriot League in scoring. His 21.1 ppg average is the 11th-best average in school history. He already has 612 points this year, ranking sixth on the single-season list and he became the fourth player in school history (David Robinson, Greg Sprink, John Clune) to score 600 points in a season.
His 84 three-pointers this year rank as the third most in a season in school history. Harris now owns the top three spots on the single-season chart for three-pointers made.
Harris saw his 26-game streak double-figure streak end against Army as the fifth-longest double-figure streak in school history.
Harris ranks 25th nationally in free throw percentage and his 87.1 percent this year is tied for the third-highest percentage in school history. He has had the two longest consecutive free throws made streaks this year in school history at 37 and 35, respectively.
He has made 84.7 percent of his free throws during his career, ranking third in Patriot League annals and third all-time at Navy.
Harris ranks fifth on the school's career scoring list (1,615 points) passing Michael Heary against American last week. Harris is already one of two players (Kaleo Kina) to score 1,500 points, dish out 250 assists and grab 150 steals in a career.
Harris ranks fourth in career steals by a Navy player with 172, and leads the league this year in steals per game (2.0).
Harris ranks first on the career three-pointers made list (284) and is fifth on the Patriot League list, but could finish as high as third.
Harris scored a career-high 40 points vs. Lehigh on Feb. 10, the most for a Navy player ever in a Patriot League game.
The 40 points were the 13th most nationally this season, and the 11th most by a Navy player in school history.
He surpassed 30 points for the fifth time this season with 30 points against American. He is one of five players in school history to have five 30-point games in a season. His six career 30-point games ranks as the sixth most.
A STAR IN WAITING
There is no secret that Chris Harris has waited for his opportunity to become Navy's primary offensive threat, playing behind Greg Sprink in 2008 and Kaleo Kina in 2009.
Now that Harris has taken the offensive reigns, a new offensive star appears to have emerged as a go-to-guy down the road. Jordan Sugars' 15.9 ppg average currently ranks as the fifth-best scoring average in school history by a Navy sophomore behind David Robinson (23.6), Kevin Sinnett (16.0), John Clune (21.2) and John Tolmie (17.5). In addition, his 7.9 rpg average is the fifth-best average for a sophomore.
Sugars is one of seven sophomores in league history to win two or more Patriot League Player of the Week honors. He is the only player in the league this year to rank in the top five in both scoring (4th) and rebounding (3rd).
He became the fourth player (Sugars, David Robinson, Vernon Butler and Don Lange) in school history with 450 points and 225 rebounds in a season and just the third sophomore (Robinson and Butler) to reach those marks. His 230 rebounds are the most for a Navy player since Hassan Booker had 235 boards in 1998.
Sugars' 12.7 point per game improvement from last year is the highest-scoring improvement by a player in the NCAA this year.
In addition, Sugars' 12.7 point per game improvment is tied for second all-time on the Navy list.
MAY I ASSIST YOU?
Since O.J. Avworo's insertion into the starting lineup at the start of last year, the junior transfer has accustomed himself nicely to Billy Lange's style of play. He is now playing the best basketball of his career, averaging 11.5 ppg and 6.9 apg over the last 10 games, against 26 turnovers for an assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.65 (69-to-26) in that span.
Avworo already has 268 assists in just 58 career games, moving into 10th place on the school's career assists list. His per game average of 4.62 ranks fifth all-time behind Doug Wojcik (7.21), Mickey Hampton (5.93), Brian Walker (4.78) and Rob Romaine (4.71).
His 159 assists this year are the 10th most in a season, and he owns a 1.99 assist-to-turnover ratio this year. In league play, the ratio was 2.28 (89:39), averaging 10.2 ppg and 6.4 apg in 14 league games. He ranks 20th nationally in assists per game (5.7) and his 6.4 assists per game in league games only ranks sixth nationally in teams' league games only behind some very good company (Illinois' Demetri McCamey, Siena's Ronald Moore, Oakland's Johnathan Jones. Maryland's Greivis Vasquez and Wake Forest's Ishmael Smith).
He became the first player in school history with 10 or more assists in three straight games (10 vs. Colgate, 10 vs. Bucknell, 11 vs. Lehigh), and now has 10 or more assists in four of the last eight games after his 13 dimes against Holy Cross. The 13 assists were the most by a Navy player in PL history, the sixth most in a game in Navy history and the 10th most in a game nationally this year.
He has 49.17 percent (89-of-181) of Navy's assists in league games, ranking eighth nationally in percentage of team assists in conference games only behind Smith (WFU), Jaytornah Wisseh (Long Island), McCamey (Illinois), Moore (Siena), Aaron Johnson (UAB), Mike Scott (FDU) and Jones (Oakland). In all games played, he has dished out 41.73 percent of Navy's assists to rank 16th nationally.
NAVY'S PATRIOT LEAGUE TOURNAMENT FACTS
Navy has won three Patriot League Tournaments, the second most in league history behind Holy Cross (5). Fordham, Colgate, Lafayette, Bucknell and American have each won two tournament titles each.
Navy is 13-15 all-time in the Patriot League Tournament and is 0-2 against American. The Eagles defeated Navy, 72-57, in the 2003 quarterfinals, and then 85-83 in overtime in the 2005 quarterfinals, Billy Lange's first game in the PL Tournament.
Navy enters the Patriot League Tournament on a nine-game tournament losing streak, dating back to a 68-64 overtime loss to Holy Cross in the 2001 tournament finals. Navy's last win overall was an 88-64 victory over Bucknelll in the 2001 semifinals. Navy has lost eight straight quarterfinal games.
Of Navy's nine straight losses in the tournament, five of them have come in overtime, including two straight.
This marks the second time that Navy has been the No. 5 seed. Its previous time was during the 1993 tournament, when it lost to fourth-seeded Colgate, 84-80, in the quarterfinals in Hamilton, N.Y.
Navy is 2-1 all-time against teams seeded No. 4. Navy lost the above-mentioned game vs. Colgate, but defeated fourth-seeded Holy Cross in the 1994 semifinals in overtime, 93-91, and fourth-seeded Colgate, 82-56, in the 2000 semifinals.
Navy is 1-9 as the lower seed in the Patriot League Tournament, and that win came in the 1998 Finals against top-seeded Lafayette (93-85), in a game played in Annapolis. The two teams tied for the top spot, and Lafayette was the top seed receiving a bye for the quarterfinals, Navy earned the home game in the finals.
This will be Navy's first Patriot League Tournament game in Washington, D.C.
Navy is 9-2 in Annapolis during the Patriot League Tournament, but is just 4-13 away from Alumni Hall.
In true road games during the Patriot League Tournament, Navy is 1-5, while Navy is 3-8 in neutral-site games. Navy has not won a true road game in the Patriot League Tournament since a 1995 semifinals win over Army in West Point, 70-59.
Billy Lange is 0-5 in the Patriot League Tournament, losing three of the games in overtime. The other two losses came to Holy Cross in 2006 and Bucknell in 2007, when no one beat those teams. Don DeVoe is the only Navy coach to win a PL Tournament game.
# GO NAVY