Army shuts down Navy, 69-50

On Saturday afternoon at Christl Arena the Army Black Knights (14-12, 4-8 Patriot League) shutdown the high scoring offense of their arch rival the Navy Midshipmen (13-14, 7-5 Patriot League) to win the annual "Star" game for the first time in eight years. In front of a record home crowd, Army forced 21 turnovers and held the potent long-range shooters of Navy to just 1 of 19 from beyond the arc.

In a total reversal of their last game, a loss against American, Army allowed the first basket and went on to score the next fifteen unanswered points. The early hero was Chris Walker who came off the bench for the first time this year. Walker put on a display of nice moves in the low box. It was obvious that Coach Spiker had made it an emphasis in the game plan to work the ball inside more. Walker responded with a season high 14 points hitting seven of nine attempts while blocking three shots on the defensive end.

After the Midshipmen scored six straight points to close the deficit to 21-12 Army ended the half with an 11-4 run. Cleveland Richard scored at the end of half to give the Black Knights a 36-20 lead. Early in the second half Richard scored three baskets in a row for Army to extend the lead to 19 points. Army went into one of their offensive funks that have plagued them this year for the next seven minutes. However, today they fed Walker down low for two baskets while their physical defense kept Navy from getting into any offensive rhythm. Navy wasn't able to take advantage as they scored only 6 points during the same stretch. Marcus Nelson was at his defensive best as he and the rest of the Black Knight guards gave Chris Harris, the league's leading scorer, fits. Harris was held to four points in 39 minutes of play on just 2 of 17 shooting. The 5-11 Nelson blocked a shot to tie the Army career record of 74 held by former center Jimmy Sewell. Nelson also scored eight points hitting all his shot attempts from the floor (2-2) and the free throw line (4-4).

The usually high scoring Mids never seriously threatened army down the stretch. The closest the Mids were able to narrow the lead was to fifteen points. Army hit its last six free throws to secure a 19-point victory. It was the biggest margin of victory for the Black Knights over Navy since a twenty-point win 2005. Army broke out of its team shooting slump by hitting 51% of their shots from the floor. Cleveland Richard led Army with 15 points. The win improves Army's record to 10-2 at Christl Arena this year. Army wore a "retro" look that feature "West Point" on the jersey and the great classic "Kicking Mule" logo. Army next faces the Lafayette Leopards at home Wednesday February 24 at 7 PM.

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