On Saturday afternoon at Christl Arena the Army Black Knights (14-12, 4-8 Patriot League) shutdown…
Preview: Navy at Army
Where: West Point, N.Y. at Christl Arena
These two teams have been headed in the opposite directions since their first meeting on January 23 when both entered the game with a 2-2 records in the Patriot League. Navy defeated Army 62-56 in their 111th meeting in front of a sold out crowd in Alumni Hall. Navy overcame a 14 point second half deficit as Chris Harris and Jordan Sugars led them on a 29-7 run to take control of the game. Harris led all scorers with 30 points while Julian Simmons led Army with 16 points. Since that game Army is a disappointing 1-6 in Patriot League play. Navy on the other hand has won four of their last five league games while averaging 85.2 points per game over that span.
The Match ups:
While Army has struggled to score consistently, Navy features the most potent offense in the league. Navy plays a fast up-tempo run and gun game. Navy usually plays with undersized line up featuring 3 or 4 guards. The Midshipmen tries to get teams in shoot outs and force turnovers. Navy is led by arguably the best player in the Patriot League senior guard Chris Harris. Harris is the league's leading scorer at 21.5 points a game. Sophomore guard Jordan Sugars, who plays small forward in Navy's offense, averages 15.5 points per game and 8.0 rebounds a game O.J. Avworo's improvement as a point guard has been a big factor in Navy's success. Avworo has a 2.1 turnover to assist ratio.
Army's defense had trouble containing the tag team of Harris and Sugars in the first match up. While Army is the more athletic team, Navy has much better talent in terms of shooting and size. Despite their offensive struggles Army continues to lead the Patriot League in scoring defense (63.7 ppg) and defending the perimeter allowing only a 33.1% success rate from beyond the arc. Army's Achilles heel has been it's offense and lack of size down low. Army has struggled the last month with very slow starts on the offensive end that costs them games the last month. In their last game Coach Spiker unveiled a new starting lineup that was outscored 25-8 to open the game dooming Army's chances for victory. Cleveland Richard has tried to pick up the offensive slack as he has he has scored 11 or more points in his last six games. Army fans hope Julian Simmons is back in full force from an illness that limited him to a season low three minutes against American on Wednesday. To win Army needs Simmons at his best. Simmons is a terrific shooter averaging 12.2 points per game and is hitting 432% of his shots beyond the arc. The game is already an announced sell out.
Notes: Army has lost the last seven "Star" games.
Navy is 10-3 at home but only 3-10 on the road.
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