Navy falls to Army, 63-43

WEST POINT, N.Y. -- The Navy men's basketball team started strong but struggled in the game's last 30 minutes as arch-rival Army defeated the Mids, 63-43, Sunday afternoon at Christl Arena. The 20-point loss, Navy's eighth in a row, was the third-worst loss for Navy in the 101-game series and worst against Army since February 28, 1970. The Mids are now 4-14 overall and 0-5 in the Patriot League.

"Obviously, we are disappointed in the outcome," said Navy head coach Billy Lange. "I don't say this often, but it comes down to us not making our shots. We had some good looks early that weren't falling, panicked some and took shots in the second half we don't normally take."

Lange's comments reflect Navy's struggles. The Mids jumped out to a 15-9 lead seven minutes into the game, but scored just nine points over the next 13 minutes and trailed heading into the halftime locker room, 32-24. Navy shot just 30.0 percent (9-of-30) from the floor in the first half, including just 21.4 percent (3-of-14) from three-point land, while Army shot 42.3 percent (11-of-26) in the opening 20 minutes.

Just once in the second half did Navy cut the lead to under 10 at 36-28 with 16:25 to play on a George O'Garro (Panorama, Calif.) layup, but Army responded with a 9-2 run over four minutes to take a 45-30 advantage. Navy would get no closer than 11 (47-36 with seven minutes to play), and Army cruised to a 63-43 victory. Navy shot just 25.9 percent (7-of-27) in the second half, including 0-of-13 from three-point range in the second half. Army outscored Navy, 31-19, in the game's final 20 minutes.

For the game, the Mids were 16-of-57 (28.1 percent) and just 3-of-27 (11.1 percent) from three-point range. Army's Matt Bell, who led the Black Knights with 20 points, gave the Mids problems.

"Army has very good guards and skilled players who played well and gave us problems," said Lange. "We just need to stay positive and find our groove that we once had."

Matt Fannin (Lakewood, Ohio) led Navy with 17 points and seven rebounds. Fannin was 6-of-10 from the field, while the rest of the Mids shot just 10-of-47 combined. Navy did outrebound Army, 42-33, but had 13 turnovers while forcing only six Army miscues.

Navy will host Colgate and Bucknell next weekend at Alumni Hall. Colgate comes to town on Friday night for a 7:00 p.m., tip-off, while the Bucknell game will be Sunday at 2:00 p.m.


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