Bonus Army-Navy Game in Patriot Tourney

The Patriot League Men’s Basketball Tournament will get underway on Tuesday and this year one of the 7 vs. 10 match-ups has a little extra meaning than normal.

The Mids finished the 2014-15 season with a 12-18 overall record. Navy however was able to put together their best season of Patriot League play since 2009, finishing 8-10 in conference play. This was enough for the Mids to finish in seventh place in the league standings, securing a home game in the first round of the tournament against arch rival Army.

The Mids record was only a couple of wins away from being much more spectacular. Bucknell and Colgate were the class of the leagues this year, but third place Lehigh only put together a record of 10-8. A couple more wins from anywhere on the schedule, perhaps the 52-51 loss to Bucknell in February could have been one, would have put the Mids in a lofty position which they haven’t occupied in years.

As it is though Navy has a solid chance to move on in the tournament against an Army team they have already beaten twice this season. In early January the Mids beat the Black Knights 75-66, paced by a solid 17 points from Brandon Venturini. This was one of the better free throw shooting nights for Navy, who made 19 of its last 24 free throws to seal the win. Then in the rematch a month later Zach Fong went off for the Mids, scoring a career high 23 points. This combined with big baskets late in the game from Worth Smith was enough to see Navy prevail 67-59.

This was the first time that Navy has swept Army in the regular season since 2011. Now the Mids have a chance to make it three wins in a season over their rivals and move on to play Colgate in Hamilton, N.Y. on Thursday. The Mids have been wildly inconsistent over the last month or so, but there is no reason to think that they cannot play well enough to advance through the first round of the tournament and set up a clash with a Colgate squad they have already beaten in the road this year.

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