On Saturday afternoon the Army Black Knights (12-6) travel to Annapolis to take on Navy (8-11) in a…
TSX: Navy's new dynamic duo
Harris has thus far been spectacular in assuming the role of team captain and floor general, averaging more than 20 points per game as the Midshipmen attempt to re-establish the offensive clout they brought to the court last year.
The senior torched Lehigh for 29 points in a 94-83 victory on Jan. 13.
Jordan Sugars has been Harris' partner in crime, chipping in 18 points and eight rebounds in a Jan. 17 loss to Lafayette. Sugars is rapidly becoming one of Navy's most dangerous weapons and the key to taking some of the pressure off Harris.
Sugars also provides a strong rebounding presence. His average of 8.2 boards per game is second in the conference.
Despite the strong play of Harris and Sugars, Navy hasn't quite put it all together. Billy Lange's team still suffers from atrocious defense.
Lange's strategy is to run the floor, put a lot of pressure on the opposing defense and score quickly. The problem with that run-and-gun attack is it leaves open lanes for opposing shooters.
Harris and Sugars provide the kind of one-two punch Kina and Harris had last season. Whether the Midshipmen can figure out a way to make some stops on the defensive end will be key as they look to make a run with league play rolling on.
--Chris Harris leads the Patriot League in scoring, averaging 20.4 points per game, and also is No. 1 in free-throw percentage at 88.7 percent.
--Navy might have an explosive offense, but their defense is abysmal, dead last in the conference play, allowing 75.0 points per game.
ON THE SPOT: Allowing over 75 points per game is not going to get it done in any conference, no matter how explosive your offense. The Midshipmen's style of play is fun to watch and roughs up opposing defenses, but it's easily exploited.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "The way we played in the first half, we didn't deserve to win. You can't come out and have that kind of performance where you give a team like that a lead like that early." -- Jordan Sugars, on his team's poor start against Lafayette on Jan. 16.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
SEASON RECAP: The overriding theme of the Midshipmen's season has been players stepping up. Chris Harris assumed the scoring mantle left vacant by graduated Kaleo Kina, and Jordan Sugars has also quickly assumed a leadership role. The sophomore was a force in the early going, rocketing to the top of the conference's rebounding list.
PLAYER ROTATION: Usual Starters -- G Jordan Sugars, G Chris Harris, G Romeo Garcia, G O.J. Avworo, C Mark Veazey. Key Subs -- F T.J. Topercer.
Navy 69, Bucknell 67
Navy 94, Lehigh 83
Lafayette 90, Navy 77
at Holy Cross, Wednesday, Jan. 20
vs. Army, Saturday, Jan. 23
at American, Wednesday, Jan. 27
vs. Colgate, Saturday, Jan. 30
vs. Bucknell, Saturday, Feb. 6
IN FOCUS: Navy's offense had its way against weaker defenses like Lehigh, but will face a real test in back-to-back games against the defensive-minded Army and American. Army in particular, puts a lot of pressure on opposing shooters and will look to provide a blueprint on how to slow down Chris Harris.
--Romeo Garcia struggled with a nagging hamstring last season, but has stepped up this season. Garcia is second on the team in rebounding.
--Sophomore Jordan Sugars earned his second Patriot League Player of the Week award on Jan. 5. Sugars scored a career-high 27 points and had seven rebounds in a 78-75 victory over Coppin State on Dec. 30. He registered his fourth double-double of the season with 19 points and 10 rebounds in a 79-73 victory over Elon on Jan. 2.
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