Navy basketball is almost done with the weather induced craziness that was the end of January and the beginning of February. The Mids got a big boost, and snapped their two game slide, by beating Army in the rearranged game from late January in West Point 64-50 on Monday night. It was once again a game where the defense was key for Navy as they held Army to a season low 50 points despite the Black Knights getting back their two injured stars. Next up is a home date with Boston University on Wednesday.
Here is a look at the three keys for Wednesday night’s game:
1. Fight the fatigue
If the Navy players are little jaded during the game on Wednesday they would have a fairly reasonable excuse. This contest will be the Mids third game in three states over a span of five days before the schedule calms down again. It isn’t the playing so much that is the issue, teams after all play this often in both early season and postseason tournaments, but it is the effect of the travel on the players impacting their usual routine. The best way for Navy to fight this issue is to come out hot with their lockdown defense in full force. This will alleviate any worry that would be the case if the game is close late on.
2. Have a balanced scoring attack
Navy played the Terriers in Boston on Jan 6 and came away with an 83-67 victory. It was the Mids first victory ever over Boston, who had won the first six meetings between the two schools. In that game Navy scored early and often because the scoring was spread out among so many different players. Center Will Kelly, guard Tilman Dunbar and guard Shawn Anderson each scored 16 points, forward Jace Hogan added 13 points and guard Tim Abruzzo contributed 11 more to the team’s total. If Navy can spread the scoring out again, then the Mids will be hard to contain offensively.
3. Keep up the defensive intensity
The Navy defense has been simply great so far this season. The Mids are giving up just 62.3 points per game and that is good for 13th nationally in scoring defense. Navy also leads the Patriot League in a number of statistical categories defensively. This includes field goal percentage (.406), rebounding margin (+5.2) and blocked shots per game (4.0). It is the defense that will carry this team as far as it goes the rest of the way and Navy will have to especially watch the play of Eric Fanning who leads the Terriers in scoring at 11.6 points per game.