Harris lifts Midshipmen

November 17, 2008|By From Sun staff reports

Chris Harris scored 22 points and the Navy men's basketball team ended the game on a 17-1 run over the final nine-plus minutes to defeat Howard, 66-55, in yesterday's home opener. The win evens Navy's record to 1-1, while Howard drops to 1-1.

"We are still finding some offensive harmony, but today was better," Navy coach Billy Lange said. "Over the last 10 minutes, I thought we were very sound defensively, and our defense really turned the game around for us."

Navy trailed 54-49 on Howard's three-pointer with 9:14 to play, before the Midshipmen put on the defensive clamps. Navy tied the game with 7:12 to play on a Clif Colbert layup, then took the lead for good 38 seconds later on a three-pointer by freshman Jordan Sugars.

Over the last nine minutes, Howard went 0-for-10 from the field and turned the ball over four times during that span, while Navy went 8-for-10 from the free throw line to put the game out of reach.

The game was a welcome bounceback effort for the Mids, after Friday's 86-68 loss to Towson. With Tuesday's night home game against St. Francis (N.Y.), Navy will have opened the season playing three games in a five-day span.

Navy turned the ball over 14 times yesterday 5after turning the ball over 18 times in the opener, and held Howard to 26 second-half points after giving up 49 to Towson in the second half on Friday night.

"The only way to learn is to play games, and I was glad we were able to play so quickly again after Friday," Lange said. "We wanted to get back out there and improve and I think we took a step forward today."

Navy started the game fast, jumping out to a 9-2 advantage in the first three-plus minutes. However, in the last 16 minutes of the half, Navy went just 6-of-26 (.231) from the field, before settling for a 32-29 halftime lead.

Howard opened the second half on a 16-7 run to grab its biggest lead of the game at 45-39 with 13:10 to play. Howard still led by six at 49-43, before the Mids started their final 23-6 run, which started with Harris' three-pointer.

"One of our focal points this year was how we would respond to adversity. When things got tough, we stayed together and stayed with the plan," said Harris said. "It's a big confidence boost coming back the way we did."

Navy shot just 34.5 percent (20-for-58) from the field, and went 7-for-21 (.333) from three-point range. The Mids also went a stellar 19-for-22 (.864) from the free throw line.

Both teams had 14 turnovers.

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