|Jim Crews donned desert fatigues for the Navy game. Read about it here and see the Times Herald-Record's photo gallery.|
Army coach Jim Crews donned the battle fatigues he wore during a summer tour of the middle east to fire up his troops, but it was Army's defense, not Crews' tailor, that made the difference in the 53-50 win over Navy.
Army did not get much offense Sunday afternoon in Christl Arena. Only Matt Bell (16 points, 3 three-pointers) reached double figures for the Black Knights, who shot 39.2 percent (20 of 51) from the field. But the way they defended, they didn't need much.
Holding Navy to 28.6 percent shooting from the field, Army improved to 3-2 in league play, gaining a two-game advantage in the race for the fourth, and final, home game slot in the postseason Patriot League Tournament.
Navy hit just 16 of 56 shots from the field. Over half of those shots (29) were three-point tries. Only six of those treys found their mark.
Greg Sprink led all scorers with 19 points, on 6 for 16 shooting. Sprink was 3 for 9 from the arc, the biggest miss coming at the buzzer with a chance to tie after Bell left the door open by missing the first of two free throws with 4.5 second to go.
Sprink took the inbounds pass, dribbled the length of the floor and had a good look from 25-feet out on the left side. But his attempt to send the game to overtime rimmed out, giving Army the win in the first meeting of the season between the two for the fourth season in a row.
Sprink's missed three capped a half in which Navy made just 7 of 31 shots from teh field (22.6 percent).
Navy killed Corban Bates once again came up big against the Midshipmen. Bates scored 6 of his 8 points on back-to-back possessions, both after coming up with key offensive rebounds. The first led to an old-fashioned three-point play on a putback and a foul shot that put the Black Knights on top for good. The second was a new-fangled three-ball after another offensive rebound, giving Army a 47-43 lead with 4:09 to play.
The Midshipmen got within two three times down the stretch, the last time on a Sprink trey with 6 seconds left that made it 52-50, Army. That proved to be Navy's only field goal in the last 5:02 of the game.
The win, Army's third in a row (all at home), ups the Black Knights record to 13-7 overall. It's the first time Army has won 13 games since the 1986-87 season. Navy has now dropped 6 of its last 8 since starting the season 9-3.
The crowd of 3,904 was the largest for an Army home game since 5,125 showed up for a Feb. 28, 2004 Navy game and was literally more than 10 times the size of the crowd that showed up earlier in the week (390) for a win over American.
Army closes out the first half of the conference schedule with two games this week on the road -- Wednesday at Lafayette and Saturday at Bucknell. Navy is at American Wednesday, then hosts Colgate Saturday.
Box score | AP | Times Herald-Record (gamer) | Times-Herald Record (column) | T H-R Photo gallery
BONUS LINK: Billy Lange verbatim (interview from Basketball U., done before the Army game)
Labels: Army, games, Navy
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