Before each game the article will set up the three keys to a Navy victory over the upcoming opponent, then when the game is done a second article will revisit these keys to see how they impacted the outcome of the contest.
Here are the three keys to the Mids game on Wednesday against Loyola Maryland:
1 – Keep Shawn Anderson hot
Mids sophomore guard Shawn Anderson is a built in match-up problem for most Patriot League teams. The six-foot-four, 205-pounder is too big for most guards to handle but too quick for forwards to help on. In the Mids overtime win against Colgate on Saturday, Anderson scored 21 points to continue a streak of 16 or more points over the first four games of conference play. Anderson is dangerous because he is not a big time three point shooter like many modern guards. Instead, he likes to drive and penetrate into the lane. Anderson’s biggest strength is that he doesn’t take a lot of bad shots. His field goal percentage over the last four games has been no lower than 50-percent and as high as 78-percent. If Anderson keeps scoring Navy will beat a Loyola team that is challenged offensively.
2 – No hangover from Saturday
The win over Colgate on Saturday may not have been the most emotional in the world, but coming back on the court after an overtime victory is always a little different. With that in mind, Navy needs to start the game well and at the very least not allow Loyola to begin with a run of points. Ideally, the Mids will be able to take the momentum from Saturday onto the court with them and come out with a barrage of points to put this game to bed early, but at the very least Navy has to make sure there is no hangover from the weekend that puts the team behind the eight ball.
3 – Slow down Andre Walker
Loyola is 4-11 on the season, yet they just one place out of the Patriot League as three of their four wins came in their first three conference games of the season. The Greyhounds hot streak has been best personified by the play of sophomore point guard Andre Walker. Walker may only be six feet tall and 165-pounds, but he is a consistent double-digit scorer for Loyola who is a threat to go off and score in bunches every night. As a volume scorer, Walker takes a lot of bad shots, but he has averaged almost 17 points per game in league play so far, leading the Greyhounds in scoring on the last three occasions. If the Navy defense can keep Walker contained, forcing him to take bad shots and keeping his shooting percentage low, then the Mids will have a greater chance to win the game.