Navy's rally attempt vs. Army just misses

The Baltimore Sun

His team had allowed a career-high 35 points to Army guard Jarell Brown and missed out on a buzzer-beating victory when Chris Harris' open three-point attempt from the corner bounced out as time expired.

To Navy coach Billy Lange, however, it was the first three minutes yesterday - in which the Midshipmen surrendered the game's first 11 points - that were the most costly in a 69-67 loss to the Black Knights before an announced sellout of 5,710 at Alumni Hall.

"We'll all talk about the end of the game - Chris' missed three - and Brown getting 35. How about the fact that it was 11-0 in front of 5,700 fans on our home floor?" Lange said. "That's the game. You can't fall in a hole like that."

The loss to their traditional rivals kept the Midshipmen (9-11, 2-3 Patriot League) from reaching the .500 mark. They lead the all-time series 66-41, with another meeting - the more emphasized N-Star game - next month at West Point.

They will try to earn a split in the season series for the fifth straight season.

Despite its early troubles, Navy - which entered with a team scoring average that was more than 25 points per game higher than Army's - eventually took command on the strength of three-point shooting by Greg Sprink and Harris, who each scored 20 points, and reserve Adam Teague, who added 13.

But after hitting nine threes in the first half - and just two other field goals - the Midshipmen went cold while also hurting their cause with key mistakes.

Perhaps the most crippling came with Navy leading 58-52, when Sprink got the ball after a steal and was open for what looked like an easy layup. Instead, the senior went for a flashy slam and lost the ball on his way up.

Moments later, Brown scored on a fast-break layup, drew a foul from guard Kaleo Kina - his fourth - and made the free throw to cut the lead to three.

"It's a five-point swing, and it also puts Kina up with four fouls and we had to take him out of the game," Lange said. "So it's probably worth more than five points. It's worth our unity and our chemistry and our flow.

"It's a choice that I'm sure he wishes he could go back on."

Brown then took over, scoring 14 points in the final 6:17 by slashing to the basket and making long-range jumpers. His driving layup with 14 seconds left gave Army (9-10, 2-3) a 69-67 lead, which held when Harris' three-point attempt bounced off the rim at the buzzer.

"They didn't come out on me. It was a great look," Harris said. "I don't feel like I was set, and I just missed the shot."

ARMY-Williams 2-3 6-7 10, Nelson 2-8 0-0 5, Miller 5-8 1-2 11, Carter 0-0 0-0 0, Brown 13-26 5-5 35, Richard 3-6 0-1 6, Sizemore 0-2 0-0 0, Thompson 0-1 0-0 0, Royal 0-0 0-0 0, Bates 0-0 0-0 0, Walker 1-3 0-0 2. Totals 26-57 12-15 69. NAVY-Veazey 4-7 1-3 9, Sprink 6-18 6-7 20, Harris 5-18 5-6 20, Garcia 1-3 0-0 3, Kina 0-6 1-2 1, Colbert 0-0 0-2 0, Richards 0-2 1-2 1, Teague 5-7 0-0 13. Totals 21-61 14-22 67. Half-Navy 38-34. 3-point goals-Army 5-13 (Brown 4-9, Nelson 1-3, Richard 0-1), Navy 11-33 (Harris 5-14, Teague 3-5, Sprink 2-8, Garcia 1-2, Kina 0-4). Fouled out-None. Rebounds-Army 38 (Brown 7), Navy 39 (Veazey 7). Assists-Army 15 (Miller 8), Navy 15 (Harris 5). Total fouls-Army 20, Navy 16. A-5,710.

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