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Greg Summers leads way as Navy men’s basketball picks up crucial victory over Loyola

Navy and Loyola were two Patriot League men’s basketball programs trending in opposite directions going into Wednesday night’s meeting in Annapolis.

The host Midshipmen had lost six of their last seven after getting off to a 6-2 start in Patriot League play. Meanwhile, the Greyhounds had won five of their last six on the heels of a season-worst eight-game losing streak.

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Despite their divergent paths of late, the Mids and Hounds found themselves in a three-way tie for sixth place in the Patriot League going into Wednesday night’s slate of conference contests. Both schools were trying desperately to avoid being part of the two opening round games for the Patriot League Tournament that gets underway next Tuesday.

Sophomore guard Greg Summers notched his third double-double of the season with 15 points and 13 rebounds as Navy picked up a much-needed win, 62-57 over Loyola before an announced crowd of 1,446 at Alumni Hall.

“We really needed to win this game, however it happened,” Navy head coach Ed DeChellis said. “I thought It was a total team effort. Everybody pitched in. I’m happy for our guys because they’re feeling good about themselves.”

Navy-Maryland men's lacrosse, postponed this past Saturday, may not be made up. The Midshipmen and Terrapins are having difficulty agreeing on a mid-week date to play the historic contest.

Junior point guard Cam Davis scored 14 points for Navy (14-14, 8-9), which is now tied with Bucknell (12-18, 8-9) for sixth place. Sophomore swingman John Carter Jr. scored 12 points and grabbed eight rebounds for the Midshipmen, who avenged a 79-73 loss to the Greyhounds on Feb. 1 to split the season series.

“We had to find a way to win. It wasn’t pretty... we made some goofy plays at the end,” DeChellis said. “We grabbed some big rebounds and made our free throws down the stretch, which we didn’t do the other day (in a 71-62 loss at American). This game marked growth for our team.”

Navy can still finish anywhere from fifth to eighth in the Patriot League depending on Saturday’s result and how tiebreaker scenarios shake out.

“Lafayette is a huge game on Saturday afternoon. We have to beat Lafayette, and if we do that I think our scenarios improve dramatically,” DeChellis said.

Freshman forward Santi Aldama posted his second straight double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds for Loyola (15-15, 7-10), which trailed the entire second half. Freshman forward Golden Dike came off the bench to total 12 points and six rebounds for the Greyhounds, who are now all alone in seventh place.

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“It was a very physical, ugly game. That’s not really our style,” second-year Loyola head coach Tavaras Hardy said. “Navy did a good job of making it an uglier game.”

Sophomore guard Jaylin Andrews had a solid all-around floor game with 10 points, three assists and two steals for Loyola, which must beat Lehigh at home on Saturday to have any hope of avoiding the first round on March 3.

“I don’t look at that type of stuff, to be honest. We focus on one game at a time,” Hardy said when asked about Loyola’s possible Patriot League Tournament seeding. "It’s year two for us and we just want to get better and let the chips fall where they may at the end.

Evan Wieck is the lone senior on the Navy men's basketball team this season. The 6-foot-8, 240-pound forward from Amarillo, Texas will have the spotlight to himself on Senior Night at Alumni Hall.

It was Senior Night in Annapolis and Navy honored team captain Evan Wieck in an emotional pregame ceremony. The 6-foot-8, 240-pound forward from Amarillo, Texas is the lone senior on the squad this season.

“We were all playing for No. 40, to send him out as a winner in his last home game here,” DeChellis said.

Navy Midshipmen center Evan Wieck (40) is greeted by friends and family as he is honored before an NCAA men's basketball match between Navy and Loyola.
Navy Midshipmen center Evan Wieck (40) is greeted by friends and family as he is honored before an NCAA men's basketball match between Navy and Loyola.(Daniel Kucin Jr./Capital Gazette)

Summers seconded that assessment, saying Navy needs to close the regular season strong and noting how much respect all the underclassmen have for Wieck.

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“That was a huge win for us, especially on Senior Night. We really wanted to get the win for Evan,” he said. “Also, we knew weren’t winning a lot of games before this and we needed to get a streak going before playoffs.”

Summers made 5-9 of field goals and 5 of 6 free throws in reaching double digits for the third straight game. The 6-foot-3, 195-pounder has scored 52 points on 15 of 28 field goal shooting over the last three outings.

“(Summers) did a really nice job of driving the ball and getting to the free throw line. We’re trying to get him going downhill and drawing fouls,” DeChellis said.

Summers did exactly that on Wednesday night, repeatedly taking the ball strong to the basket while usually driving left and finishing left.

“The coaches tell me to be aggressive because it forces the defense to help and gets shooters like John and Cam open,” he said.

Carter scored 11 points on the strength of three treys to help Navy take a 31-26 halftime lead. Summers totaled eight points and seven rebounds for the Midshipmen, who outscored the Greyhounds 12-7 over the final 5:14 of the half.

Aldama had seven points and five rebounds at intermission for Loyola, which built a five-point lead at the 12:43 mark. Both teams shot below 40 percent in the low-scoring first half.

Loyola suffered a tough loss when starting swingman and leading scorer Andrew Kostecka went down late in the first half. Kostecka, who came into the contest averaging 20.6 points, came out onto the court for the second half using crutches and wearing a walking boot on his left ankle.

Navy carried the momentum over to the second half with junior forward Luke Loehr starting the scoring with a deep 3-pointer. Davis hit a pullup jumper from the top of the key then drilled a three from the wing as the Mids took their largest lead of 10 points (39-29) at the 15:40 mark.

Aldam leaked out for a breakaway layup, was fouled and converted the free throw for a three-point play to cap an 11-3 run that reduced the Loyola deficit to two (42-40) with 11:02 remaining.

However, that is when Wieck showed his senior leadership, scoring off consecutive post moves to quell the threat. Loyola would pull within two points on a four more occasions but could never tie or take the lead. The Greyhounds struggled shooting the ball, made just 21 of 60 (35 percent) field goals.

“I thought defensively we were really good. They scored 57 points and didn’t shoot the ball very well,” DeChellis said. “I felt very good about our defensive effort tonight.”

Hardy said the loss of Kostecka, who rolled an ankle when he inadvertently stepped on a Navy player’s foot, hurt Loyola in the final minutes when the game hung in the balance.

“It changed us a lot in terms of execution down the stretch. A lot of the things I would want to do would have been for Andrew," Kostecka said.

Summers was proud of the Midshipmen for seizing the lead late in the first half then maintaining it throughout the second half by turning back numerous charges by the Greyhounds.

“Toughness is a big key term that Coach D talks about is needed to win games. Tonight, we definitely showed our toughness by working hard defensively and not allowing that team to come back,” Summers said.

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