Navy loses game, conference lead

The Baltimore Sun

HAMILTON, N.Y. -- The Navy men's basketball team entered this snowy town on a six-game winning streak and tied for the Patriot League lead. No. 7 would have clinched the Patriot League regular-season title and home-court advantage in the conference tournament.

But yesterday's 73-62 loss to Colgate - coupled with American's victory over Lafayette - means the Midshipmen (16-13, 9-5) will enter the tournament as the No. 2 seed.

"I felt we played a great game," Navy coach Billy Lange said. "We just ran into a great team playing tremendous, physical basketball."

The Mids used a 13-4 advantage in offensive rebounds to take a 32-27 halftime lead.

But Navy remained cold on three-pointers, helping seal its fate. The Mids went 3-for-19 in the second half and 6-for-33 overall.

At halftime, Red Raiders coach Emmett Davis implored his team to wear down the Mids and be more aggressive on loose balls and the offensive glass.

Colgate (16-13, 7-7) and standout forward, Kendall Chones (23 points, 12 rebounds) heeded the advice, as Navy's four-guard lineup fatigued.

"We were not playing with any energy or heart in the middle part of the first half," Davis said. "I felt like Navy was scrapping more and playing with more heart."

In the second half, Chones reversed the trend by outhustling and outmuscling the suddenly beleaguered Mids.

"Chones was the difference," Davis said. "But it was a team deal."

Lange said he was impressed by the Red Raiders, who have won four straight and will be seeded third in the Patriot League tournament.

"Their athleticism and physicality, for our league in my four years since I've been here, I have never seen a team with an interior like that," Lange said.

Navy was outscored 46-30 in the second half, and standout guard Greg Sprink was off his game. The Mids' most prolific scorer since David Robinson shot 2-for-10 in the second half en route to a 5-for-18 performance. Whether he was driving the lane or shooting three-pointers, Red Raiders swarmed toward him.

Sprink credited Colgate's defense with taking him out of his game.

With the conference tournament starting Wednesday, he stressed the importance of shrugging off the loss, as an NCAA tournament berth is only three wins away.

"It doesn't matter who we play as long as we play Navy basketball," Sprink said.

NAVY-Veazey 1-3 0-0 2, Sprink 5-18 7-8 19, Harris 6-16 0-0 14, Garcia 1-2 1-2 4, Kina 7-18 2-2 17, Colbert 2-3 0-0 4, Richards 0-0 0-0 0, Teague 1-10 0-0 2. Totals 23-70 10-12 62. COLGATE-Ke.Chones 9-13 5-5 23, Pounds 6-9 0-0 12, Minchella 0-0 0-0 0, Roemer 3-13 5-6 12, Waddy 1-5 0-0 2, Woodhouse 2-5 3-6 7, Vinson 1-2 1-2 3, Venezia 2-6 4-4 9, Morse 0-0 1-2 1, Jonson 2-4 0-0 4. Totals 26-57 19-25 73. Half-Navy 32-27. 3-point goals-Navy 6-33 (Sprink 2-9, Harris 2-10, Garcia 1-1, Kina 1-5, Teague 0-8), Colgate 2-9 (Venezia 1-3, Roemer 1-4, Waddy 0-2). Fouled out-Sprink. Rebounds-Navy 46 (Harris 9), Colgate 38 (Ke.Chones 12). Assists-Navy 8 (Harris 5), Colgate 8 (Roemer 3). Total fouls-Navy 23, Colgate 15. A-602.

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