Basketball: Navy-Georgetown Notes

The Navy Midshipmen host the Georgetown Hoyas on Friday to open the 2005-06 Basketball season. Here are notes on the game.

Friday, Nov. 18 , 7:30 p.m. , Annapolis Md. , Alumni Hall (5,710)

Television: CSTV (Tom McCarthy and Pete Gillen)

Radio: 1430 WNAV (Bob Socci); Sirius Radio, Channel 118 (Satellite Radio)

Internet: Broadcast on wnav.com, navysports.com, cstv.com

Live Stats: Gametracker on navysports.com

Navy (0-0) Probable Starters
#	Pos.	Player	        Yr      Ht  Wt
2	F	Casey Reed	Fr.	6-5 197
21	F	Carlton Baldwin	Jr.	6-8 230
32	F	Matt Fannin	Sr.	6-6 223
3	G	Greg Sprink	So.	6-4 201
10	G	Corey Johson	So.	6-1 194

Navy Coach Billy Lange: Entering his second season at the helm of the Naval Academy basketball program, Lange (Rowan '94) owns a three-year career record of 48-38 and a 9-19 mark at Navy.

Georgetown (0-0) Probable Starters
#	Pos.	Player	        Yr      Ht  Wt
1	F	Brandon Bowman	Sr.	6-9 219	
20	F	Darrel Owens	Gr.	6-2 210	
0	G	Ashanti Cook	Sr.	6-2 180	
2	G	Jonathan Wallace So.    6-1 178	
32	G	Jeff Green	So.	6-9 225
*PPG/RPG/APG reflect 2004-05 averages for both teams

Georgetown Coach John Thompson III: Thompson III is in his sixth season as a collegiate head coach and owns an 87-55 record ... he led the Hoyas to a 19-13 record last year in his first season as their head coach.

Mids Play Host to Georgetown in 05-06 Season Opener

Navy In Season Openers

In its 99th year of basketball, Navy enters Friday's opener against Georgetown with a 74-24 (.755) record in season openers.

While Navy has won just two of its last eight and four of its last 10 season openers, the Mids are undefeated at ho me during that stretch. In the last 10 years, Navy has opened at home just four times, including twice in the last seven years. Navy owns a 4-0 record in openers played in Annapolis over the last 10 seasons. The last time the Mids opened the year at home was in 2002-03 when Navy outlasted UCF (Central Florida), 68-56.

The Returning Cast

Navy returns three starters and six lettermen from the 2004-05 squad. Navy's returning players topped the 1,200-point plateau and turned in better than 600 rebounds. Last season's leader in every statistical category returns for Navy this season, with the exception of blocks. More than 60 percent of the production in nearly every statistic returns for the Mids, including three-point shooting, where Navy returns 69.1 percent of its long-range scoring. George O'Garro and Laramie Mergerson, 2005 grads, were the top two shot blockers for the Mids a year ago, leaving Matt Fannin as Navy's top returning shot blocker.

Navy-Georgetown Series

The Mids and Hoyas meet for the 54th time in series history and first since 1978 when the two battle Friday night in Annapolis. Navy owns a 36-17 series advantage, including a 21-6 record in Annapolis. While at least 27 Navy-Georgetown contests have been contested in Annapolis, this will be the first game between the two teams played at Alumni Hall. The Hoyas edged the Mids, 56-53, in the last game, played Jan. 11, 1978, in Washington, D.C.

Navy vs. the Big East

Remarkably, Navy has played all 16 schools that make up the Big East and owns a 95-58 (.621) record against the conference members. The Mids have played the most contests against Friday's foe, Georgetown, with a 36-17 series advantage. The last time Navy faced a Big East foe was Pitt in 1997. The Panthers pulled out a two-point win over the Mids, 65-63, in Pittsburgh.

Navy on the Rise

Navy produced a 9-19 record a year ago, claiming wins in five of its final 10 games. It's the most wins by Navy since the 2001-02 team produced a 10-20 record. The Mids' five conference wins (5-9) marked the most by a Navy team since the 2001-02 squad posted a 5-9 record.

National Noise

Navy finished 2004-05 ranked among the country's top 100 in rebound margin and steals. The Mids' +5.1 rebound margin was the 32nd best among 326 Div. I schools, while Navy finished 34th in steals per game, grabbing 8.9 per contest.

Top O' the League

The Mids finished the 2004-05 campaign ranked No. 1 in the Patriot League in four statistical categories (overall games), including scoring offense. Navy averaged 69.7 points per game, 2.5 points more than second-place Lafayette (67.2 ppg). The Mids displayed a +13.5 scoring gain over the previous season, while averaging just under six boards a game more than the 2003-04 campaign.

Navy also led the league in rebounding offense (41.1), offensive rebounds (16.11) and rebounding margin (+5.1).

Top o' the League Part 2

In Patriot League competition, Navy paced the conference in rebounding offense (42.4) and offensive rebounds (17.14).

On the Glass

Navy concluded last year's league season as the top rebounding offense, grabbing 42.4 boards per game. That mark was just 0.4 off the school record set during the 1997-98 season, and matched the following year. It marks the first time since 1999-00 (41.2 rpg) that Navy has averaged 40-plus rebounds in conference play.

Close Calls

Eighteen (6-12, .333) of Navy's 28 games last season were decided by 10 points or less, including 10 of the last 16. Additionally, nine contests (3-9, .333) were decided by five or fewer points.

Twenty Something

A Navy player scored 20 or more points in 12 of the Mids' 28 contests last year, including the last three games. In 2003-04, Navy players produced just five 20-plus point games.

Johnson, Sprink Named to Patriot League All-Rookie Team

Starting guards Corey Johnson and Greg Sprink were named to the 2004-05 Patriot League All-Rookie Team. The Johnson-Sprink duo is the fourth tandem to earn all-rookie recognition for the Midshipmen. Mark Majick and Derrick Wall both garnered all-rookie honors in 1991-92, Randy Torgrimson and Brian Walker were acknowledged in 1993-94 and Jason Jeanpierre and Scott Long were etched into the all-rookie annals in 1999-00. Current teammate, junior guard David Hooper, was among those honored in 2002-03.

Johnson, Sprink Make Their Mark

Guards Corey Johnson and Greg Sprink garnered Patriot League All-Rookie Team kudos last season after accomplishing a feat no other freshman tandem has done at Navy - become the first pair to each score 200 points. Johnson became just the 14th freshman in school history to post 200 points when he led the Mids with 17 against Holy Cross on Feb. 4. He finished the season with 269 points, the sixth-best freshman scoring output in Navy history. Sprink made his way onto the list with his 20-point effort against American in the Patriot League Tournament. He finished the season with 209 points and stands 15th on the Mids all-time freshman scoring list.

Get out the Talcum Powder

Second-year head coach Billy Lange and his staff welcomed six newcomers to the Academy over the summer. It may be in its infancy at Navy, but Lange has high expectations of his first full recruiting class.


2	Casey Reed	F	6-5	197
4	Clif Colbert	G	6-1	200
20	Bryce Brigham	G	6-3	179
24	Kaleo Kina	G	6-2	191
33	Adam Teague	G/F	6-6	218
42	John Bailey	F	6-8	221

The 70's Game

Over the last four years, Navy has scored 70-plus points just 36 times in 114 games (.316). In the last three seasons, the Mids have scored 70 points just 21 times in 84 games (.250). In 2003-04, Navy scored 70-plus points just four times, while last season, the Mids topped 70 points in 13 of the 28 contests.

Alumni Hall: Home of the Midshipmen The Mids have traditionally been known as a strong home court team. Navy was 15-2 at Alumni Hall during the 2000-01 campaign, winning 15 in a row while boasting a 6-0 league mark at home. But recently Navy has struggled to defend its home court. Last season marked the first time since the 2000-01 season (5-1), in which Navy has secured a winning home record in Patriot League action, posting a 4-3 record.

Since opening its doors for the 1991-92 season, Navy has produced a 124-67 (.649) record in Alumni Hall. Against Patriot League foes, the Mids are 55-33 (.625).

Hooper For Three

Senior guard David Hooper hit at least one three-pointer in 23 of the 28 games last winter, and has made a triple in 53 of the 75 games (.707) in which he has played during his career.

Entering his senior campaign, Hooper is ranked seventh on the Mids' all-time three-point field goals list with 113. He trails sixth-place Michael Burd by just eight triples, while he is 88 away from Michael Heary's school-record 201 threes. He stands as one of only seven players in Academy history to make 100-career three-pointers. He accomplished this feat when he connected on a triple against Army in last year's Star Game.

Meet the Captain

Senior forward Matt Fannin will serve as the Mids' team captain during the 2005-06 campaign. A two-year starter, Fannin is perhaps the most experienced player in the Navy lineup. His responsibilities as the Mids' team captain go beyond the pine.

"It's an honor to serve as captain of the basketball team," said Fannin, who is one of four seniors this season. "I'm a leader among leaders."

"The main thing I'm excited about heading into the season is the senior leadership in general," said Navy coach Billy Lange. "The class as a whole is unselfish, hard working and solid people. It all stems from the chief of the tribe, if you will, Matt Fannin.

"Matt puts the program ahead of himself in terms of image first, winning second and himself third. It sets a good example of future captains of the Navy basketball program."

If there was an award for the league's most improved player, Fannin would have ran away with it last season. A slimmer, more mobile player, Fannin led the Midshipmen in scoring (10.9 ppg) and rebounding (6.7 rpg) a year ago. His 7.4 boards in Patriot League action tied for the best mark in the conference, while he earned top billing for his 3.14 offensive boards per game.

Frontcourt Looks to Fannin Navy's Frontcourt took the biggest blow with the loss of seniors George O'Garro and Laramie Mergerson. Less than 50 percent of Navy's scoring from the Frontcourt returns, while just 52.2 percent of the Mids' rebounding is back. O'Garro average 8.2 points and 4.9 rebounds, while Mergerson dumped in 10.2 points and 5.6 boards per game.

Team captain Matt Fannin, however, is back to lead the way for the Mids' frontcourt. Fannin led Navy in both categories last season with 10.9 points per game and 6.7 boards per outing. There's little doubt that Fannin will get fouled in the paint after making 175 trips to the line a year ago. He needs to improve upon his free throw shooting, however, as he connected on just 61.7 percent last winter.

Though junior Carlton Baldwin played in just 10 games last season, he will be relied upon as a key piece of the puzzle in 2005-06. Baldwin averaged 4.4 points and 3.4 rebounds in the games in which he played. He proved his worth as a freshman when he led the team in scoring, averaging 8.0 points and also topped the team in rebounding with his 4.1 caroms per contest.

Backcourt is the Backbone

Navy's backcourt is expected to be the backbone this season. The Mids' lone loss in the backcourt is Taj Mathews, who certainly put up some all-league numbers. He averaged 8.9 points, 2.7 assists and 1.8 steals a year ago as Navy's point guard. The Mids, however, return All-Rookie Team members Corey Johnson and Greg Sprink in the guard court, along with three-year letterwinner and three-point gunner David Hooper. Meanwhile, Navy's recruiting class is packed with talent to bulk up its guard play.

Corey Johnson was an impact player for the Midshipmen in his rookie campaign, leading the team in assists (3.1 apg) and steals (2.0 spg), while averaging 9.6 points per game. A solid defensive player, Johnson set the Navy record for steals (32) in Patriot League competition, grabbing a steal in every game except three. With a year under his belt in Lange's system, Johnson is expected to be a more complete player in 2005-06.

Sophomore Greg Sprink saw spotty time over the first nine contests a year ago, but his 14-point, 10-rebound performance against Mount St. Mary's just before the holiday break set the tone for the rest of the year. He ended the league season ranked among the top 10 in four statistics, two each in rebounding and three-point shooting categories. He averaged 8.7 points and 5.1 rebounds in overall competition, bumping it up in Patriot League play with 10.1 points and 6.0 boards.

Senior David Hooper has long been one of the premier three-point shooters in the conference. If there was a flaw in Hooper's game, it would be consistency. Over the first 11 games, he averaged 13.3 points per game, but fell in a slump to open the calendar year. Hooper didn't find his way out of the slump until the final four contests of the season in which he averaged 14.8 points per game. His scoring average has progressively improved over his first three seasons and there's nothing standing in the way of him having a solid senior campaign.

Road Woes

Over the last six years, the Mids have posted a 23-55 (.295) record on the road, versus a 50-38 (.568) mark in games played at Alumni Hall. Over the last four seasons, Navy has won just eight of its 50 road games (.160).


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