The game was played evenly for the first 10 minutes of the 2nd half. Both teams shot fairly well. In addition, both teams shot well from the foul line. Greg Sprink was fouled twice from behind the arc, and made all 6 free throws during this period. Another 3-point field goal by Sprink gave Navy the lead, 53-51 with about 10 minutes to play. This was the last lead the Middies would see for the rest of the game. Corban Bates sandwiched 2 3-point field goals around 2 Matt Bell buckets to spur on Army to a 10-0 run over the next 5 minutes. By the time it ended, Navy was down 61-53, and could never recover. Still, Navy did not go down without a fight. Matt Fannin and Corey Johnson led a Navy rally where they would score and then put Army at the foul line. Thanks, in part, to 4 missed Army free throws, the Midshipment pulled to within 3 at 74-71, with 40 seconds left. However, free throws from "Mr. Cool", Matt Bell, and Marshall Jackson helped seal the win for the Black Knights.
The Black Knights had many heroes. Co-captain Matt Bell bounced back from some recent sub-par efforts with 24 points, including 7-7 from the free throw line. Many were very clutch shots. Fellow "killer B" Corban Bates added 20 points and 8 rebounds. In fact, congratulations to Corban for earning Patriot League Player of the Week honors. Jarell Brown added 15 points off the bench. Cory Sinning shot well and added 10 points to go with 6 assists. Finally, enforcer Jimmy Sewell started to assert an inside presence for the Black Knights, earning 4 blocked shots in only 13 minutes of playing time. For Navy, Matt Fannin led their squad with 18 points. Tough Greg Sprink, blanketed by Marshall Jackson for a good part of the game, was certainly off in his shooting, but still added 14 points himself.
The Black Knights now return for a single home game after the 1-2 tough road trip. The Black Knights face the Lafayette Leopards, whose 3 losses have come against the Patriot League elite. While Army will face a stiff test, their improved play and ability to take down arch-rival Navy should enable them to have a great chance at beating the Leopards and advancing to 2-4 within the division. Please note the early start (i.e., 5:30 pm) for Wednesday for anyone thinking about attending.