ANNAPOLIS -- The two Navy players with 1,000 points all but dismissed them with a wave of the hand. At this moment, all that mattered to them was one point -- the one they lost by.
Before last night's game, Navy captain Eddie Reddick was hailed as the 13th 1,000-point scorer in academy basketball history, having reached that milestone in the fourth game of the season. Coach Pete Herrmann reached up and hugged the 6-foot-6 senior and Reddick's mother proudly walked off the floor with a basketball.
During the game, another Middies senior, Erik Harris, joined Reddick and became the 14th in the 1,000 Club. For the evening, he had 19 and raised his career total to 1,006.
After the game, both men talked not about their 1,000 points but about coming up one shy in the 81-80 loss to James Madison before the largest Halsey Field House crowd (1,760) of the season. It was career victory No. 570 for James Madison coach Lefty Driesell in his 29th season.
"One thousand means something," Harris said, "but it would have meant more if we had won. It'll probably mean more later on."
"It was nice," Reddick said, referring to the pre-game ceremony, "but any more thoughts about it went out the window when we lost a game we could have won. I missed a blockout, I missed a free throw. In a one-point game, that's everything."
Reddick has been Navy's bellwether for four years. Adding his 13 points last night, he has a career total of 1,221 and is only 19 short of becoming No. 10 on Navy's all-time list.
But for Reddick, such numbers and even a one-point defeat pale in comparison when he thinks about the war. The mood of the brigade of midshipmen, he says, is one of concern. Former Navy basketball players known to be serving in or around the Persian Gulf include 1988 captain Cliff Rees and 1989 grad Bobby Jones.
"We know people over there and in six months I could be with them," Reddick said. "People would be praying for me like I'm praying for people now.
"I'm not saying it's on our minds every waking moment. But then you hear that somebody was shot down and it comes back to you again."
Security at the academy has been tightened. Civilians must display a driver's license before being admitted. By 9:30 last night, all but one of the gates had been locked.
James Madison's players arrived on the floor with small American flags sewn on their jerseys.
"I couldn't find flags in Harrisonburg," Driesell said. "We got them up here and a girl at the hotel sewed them on for us."
At 5-0 in the Colonial Athletic Association, James Madison (10-6 overall) is off to its best conference start ever in Division I. In his third year at Madison, Driesell is 5-0 against Navy.
The Dukes acted as if they wanted to give this one to the Middies, who lost their fifth straight, three of them by three points or less. During the last 2:47, James Madison failed to score as Navy inched from six points behind to one. Ex-Terp Steve Hood had carried the Dukes throughout the evening, and finished with 29 points.
"They got us to play their game, running up and down the court," Driesell said. "It was a rat race and we fell into the trap."
The one-point win was a comeuppance of sorts for the Dukes. They beat Navy twice last season by a resounding total of 50 points.