Summers notched a double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds to lift Navy to a 69-62 victory over Army in front of 250 fans at Alumni Hall. Summers also dished off five assists and played outstanding defense on Army guard Josh Caldwell as the Midshipmen (10-1, 7-0 PL) remained unbeaten in the Patriot League.
Sophomore guard Patrick Dorsey delivered another solid all-around effort off the bench with 13 points, eight rebounds and two steals for Navy, which led from start to finish. Sophomore forward Jaylen Walker contributed 10 points as the bench accounted for 28 in total.
Army and Navy are playing four times this season, which has never happened. It was determined that Saturday’s meeting would be the “Star” game and afterward the Midshipmen were presented with the Alumni Trophy that had resided in West Point for the past year.
“I’m just really, really proud of our team because other guys stepped up. I thought our guys off the bench did an unbelievable job,” DeChellis said. “Jaylen Walker, Patrick Dorsey and Austin Inge off the bench did really good things. It was a total team effort.”
Members of the Brigade of Midshipmen were allowed to attend a Navy basketball home game for the first time this season and provided some much-needed atmosphere.
After playing just seven minutes and scoring five points, Davis came through down the stretch and finished with 11 points. Junior forward Richard Njoku contributed 10 points as the Mids had five players reach double digits.
“Coach told us guys were going to have to step up, the bench was going to have to step up,” Summers said. “Guys like Jaylen Walker and Pat Dorsey stepped up and had huge games today. In the end, it paid dividends.”
Davis ranks third in the Patriot League in scoring with 18.6 points per game, while Carter (11.9 ppg) was the only other member of the team averaging double figures. Summers put the offense on his back during their absence, repeatedly slicing into the lane to score on short jumpers or drawing fouls. He did considerable damage from the charity stripe, going 9-for-11.
“I thought Greg Summers had a monster game. He really carried us in the second half,” DeChellis said. “We tried to get him in the open floor where he could drive the basketball. He did a really good job of that then he got to the free throw line.”
Through nine games, Summers was averaging 6.1 points and had yet to reach double digits. The 6-foot-4, 200-pound wing broke out of his offensive slump last Sunday, scoring a career-high 21 points against American.
“The kid has really listened to what we need him to do offensively. I thought earlier in the year he was taking too many jump shots,” DeChellis said. “I think his strength is putting the ball on the floor and getting to the rim.”
Summers said afterward that “I definitely feel like I’ve found my rhythm” and vowed to “continue to be aggressive taking the ball to the basket.”
Senior guard Lonnie Grayson scored 18 points and grabbed eight rebounds to lead Army (8-4, 4-3), which was out-rebounded 42-29. Senior guard Tucker Blackwell came off the bench to drain three 3-pointers in netting 13 points for the Black Knights.
“I give Navy a lot of credit for being ready to go. I thought they were really consistent throughout the game,” Army coach Jimmy Allen said. “I thought their physicality on the glass affected us. That and their ability to get to the free throw line were ultimately the difference in the game.”
Caldwell and senior forward Alex King came in averaging 12.1 and 11.8 points, respectively. Those two were limited to a combined 14 points on 7-for-16 field goal shooting. Dorsey helped Summers contain Caldwell, while Walker and Tyler Nelson shared the assignment on King.
“Navy did a really good job defensively on both guys,” acknowledged Allen, noting Caldwell had trouble finding an offensive rhythm due to foul trouble.
“On the offensive end, we were worried about trying to be too finesse instead of trying to finish through contact. We let their defense take us out of some things. Kind of got us a little on our heels,” added Allen, an assistant under former Navy head coach Don DeVoe.
Army is unbeaten this season when scoring 70 points or more. Naturally, DeChellis challenged the Midshipmen to lock down defensively and keep the Black Knights in the 60s. The 10th-year coach was pleased with the defensive effort and the wide rebounding margin.
“If we have rebounding it means we have activity. If we have activity, it usually means we’re pretty good defensively,” DeChellis said. “When you’re playing back-to-back, one of those days you’re not going to have it offensively. You can always bring your defense, always bring your rebounding.”
Freshman Austin Inge continues to play well as the backup point guard. The North Carolina native gave Navy 23 minutes of solid play in place of Davis, who missed the final 11:49 of the first half after picking up his second foul and sat for about six minutes of the second half after drawing his third.
DeChellis also credited senior forward Alec Loehr and sophomore guard Sean Yoder with providing “quality” minutes. Dorsey, who played a total of 41 minutes last season, continues to be a revelation with his do-it-all play. The 6-foot-5, 208-pounder made three shots from beyond the arc and also contributed a couple steals.
“Pat plays hard and has bought into what we need him to do. He can make open shots, he rebounds the basketball and he makes other guys better,” DeChellis said.
Navy will try to complete its fourth straight sweep of a Patriot League weekend doubleheader when it takes on Army again Sunday (3 p.m.). DeChellis said Carter and Deavers will not play and mentioned that Summers and Dorsey were both cramping during Saturday’s game.
“We have to go do it again tomorrow. We’ve never had a back-to-back Army situation before, so how do we respond?” DeChellis said. “Tomorrow will be another battle and we can rest Monday.”
Added Summers: “We’re going to get treatment, we’re going to hydrate, we’re going to get a good night’s rest and be ready for the game tomorrow.”