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Men's Basketball

Navy Evens Star Series With Men's Basketball Win

ANNAPOLIS, Md. –– Freshman John Carter Jr. (Spring Hill, Tenn.) drilled six three-point field goals as part of a career-high 26-point scoring outburst to lead the Navy men's basketball team to a 79-68 victory over Army-West Point Saturday afternoon at Alumni Hall in Annapolis.  The contest was the annual Star Game between the programs, which is part of the Star Series presented by USAA.
"This guy next to me (Carter) played a heck of a basketball game," said DeChellis in the post-game press conference.  "I thought we shared the ball real well.  I thought we executed real well.  I thought we turned it over a little too much, but overall, what else can you say?  We're thrilled to win the N Star."
Carter made his presence felt 37 seconds into the game when he connected on his first three-point field goal attempt of the day.  He would make a jumper on Navy's next possession, then made another triple two minutes later to account for all of Navy's opening eight points.
After the Mids took an 11-9 lead, Army scored the next nine points to jump out to an 18-11 advantage.  A Carter three-point field goal stymied the run by the Black Knights and began a 17-4 run by the Mids that gave them a 28-22 lead with 7:40 left in the first half.  Army responded and tied the score at 35, then the teams went into halftime with Navy in front, 37-35, thanks to a jumper by Evan Wieck (Jr., Amarillo, Texas) with 40 seconds remaining.
Carter totaled 11 first-half points and his 4-6 shooting from the field, including a 3-5 effort from three-point range, boosted Navy's overall shooting to 51.7 percent from the floor.  
Army tied the game just 10 seconds into the second half, but Carter drained another three-point shot 15 seconds later.  The margin was two points at 43-41 when the Mids tallied the next seven points to pull in front 50-41.  Wieck started the run with a layup, then Carter pulled down an offensive rebound on the following Army possession.  That led to a jumper by Hasan Abdullah (Sr., Birmingham, Ala.) to make it a six-point game.  Wieck snared a defensive board on the other end of the floor, then Abdullah fed Carter for a three-point basket that extended the lead to nine points with a little more than 14 minutes still to play.
It was again a nine-point game at 52-43 when Army quickly winnowed the margin down to two points at 58-56.  The teams exchanged missed field goals, then Carter sank another three-point shot to put the Mids in front, 61-56, with 7:35 showing on the clock.  Army cut the margin down to 61-58 one minute later, but that was followed by George Kiernan (Sr., Hinsdale, Ill.) hitting a three-point shot of his own to make the score 64-58.  The Black Knights quickly responded with a layup, then had an attempt on their next possession to make it to two-point game that missed its mark.  Wieck grabbed the carom and that led to a driving layup by Abdullah to again make it a six-point game (66-60) with just under five minutes remaining.
The lead hovered between five and seven points for over two minutes, with the Mids scoring each time the Black Knights scored.  Army soon had two possessions when the margin was five points in which it had first a three-point shot and then a field goal attempt, but the Black Knights came away empty on each opportunity.  The latter chance was followed by Carter scoring on a layup with 1:15 left that made the score 72-65.
Navy made just one of four foul shots over the next two possessions, then a three-point basket by Army brought the outcome back into question as the score was 73-68 with 30 seconds still to play.  From there, however, the Mids were 6-6 from the charity stripe to seal the victory.
Both teams made the same number of field goals on the afternoon.  Navy shot 60 percent from the floor in the second half and ended the game 27-49 in all for a mark of 55.1 percent.  Army made just 33.3 percent of its shots after halftime and closed the game with a 27-72 (37.5%) overall effort.  The Mids also were 10-18 (55.6%) from the three-point line and the Black Knights were 8-30 (26.7%) from beyond the arc.  Each team also shot just 60 percent from the foul line, but the Mids were 15-25 –– 14-24 in the second half –– and the Black Knights were 6-10.
"We really wanted to pressure the ball," said DeChellis on the defensive plan for today.  "We wanted to turn them over.  They (Army) are a good team; they didn't turn the ball over.  We really wanted to push away on drives, we didn't want to give them open three's, we wanted to contest every shot.  I thought our defense in the halfcourt was pretty good."
Navy held a 44-33 edge in rebounds, which helped negate the Mids turning the ball over 14 times and forcing Army into just five turnovers. 
Carter's 26 points bettered his previous career high by eight.  He ended the game making 6-7 three-point shots and shot 9-12 from the floor in all.  He also added seven rebounds.
"My main focus coming into the game was just find a way to win," said Carter.  "I got it going early.  I guess I was feeling it tonight.
"I didn't come into the game thinking I was going to score this many points.  Once I hit the first couple of three's, I was feeling pretty confident.  They (teammates) kept finding me."
Kiernan scored 13 points, Wieck posted a double-double of 11 points and 11 rebounds and Abdullah finished with 11 points and seven assists.
"I thought our seniors, George made some big baskets on the second half, Hasan made a big layup in the second half," said DeChellis.  "You expect those two guys to help us, and then somebody else had to come in and have a big night for us and that was John."
Tommy Funk led Army in scoring with 20 points and also added seven assists and six rebounds.
Navy will now take to the road for three of its final four games of the season.  That stretch begins with a game Wednesday at Loyola.