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Men's Basketball

Navy Never Trails in Posting Narrow Star Game Victory

ANNAPOLIS, Md. –– Greg Summers (Jr., Ocoee, Fla.) notched a double-double and led the Navy men's basketball team (10-1, 7-0 Patriot League) in points (17), rebounds (12) and assists (5) during a 69-62 victory by the Mids over Army West Point (8-4, 4-3), Saturday afternoon at Alumni Hall in Annapolis.
This was the Star Game, part of the Star Series presented by USAA, between the teams. 
"Really, really proud of our team," said Navy head coach Ed DeChellis.  "We found out this morning that Daniel Deaver (So., Falls Church, Va.) couldn't play, and then John Carter Jr. (Jr., Spring Hill, Tenn.) hurt his ankle in warmups, so he couldn't go.  That's only the third time in my career I can remember that happening.  The other guys stepped up."
"From the jump," said Summers, "coach told us guys are going to have to step up."
The Mids never trailed, but also never held any lead that could be considered comfortable.
Navy jumped out to a 9-3 lead, then held a 12-7 lead with 11:49 left in the first half when Cam Davis (Sr., Battlefield, Mo.) received his second foul of the half.  That sent him to the bench for what would be the remainder of the half.  Also on the bench for all but a sporadic eight minutes of the first half was fellow backcourt starter Carter.
In their absence stepped Patrick Dorsey (So., Raleigh, N.C.) and Jaylen Walker (So., Allen, Texas), each of whom were 2-2 from three-point range over the remainder of the frame, and Richard Njoku (Jr., Washington, D.C.), who was 4-4 from the field in the first half.  The Navy lead would dip to two points at 12-10 and 17-15.  Army had one possession to tie the Mids, but Jared Cross missed the front end of a bonus free throw opportunity with 7:15 remaining.  Dorsey snared the defensive carom on one end of the court, then drained a three-point shot on the other to make the score 20-15.  Walker drilled a triple 70 seconds later and the Mids soon led, 29-19 with 3:41 remaining. 
Army was able to winnow the margin down to three points at 30-27, but the teams finished the first 20 minutes of play with Navy in front, 33-29.
Army was the more opportunistic team in the first half as it turned Navy's seven turnovers into nine points (the Mids scored two points following the six turnovers by the Black Knights) and held a 10-0 advantage in fast break points.
Navy built out its lead early in the second half to nine points at 40-31.  Summers scored four of those early points and a triple by Dorsey accounted for the remaining three.  The advantage dwindled to four points at 44-40 before a 10-1 run gave Navy a 54-41 lead with 9:35 left on the clock.
Army sliced the margin down to seven points at 56-49 with 5:13 still to play.  A Davis basket followed by two free throws from Summers allowed the Mids to regain a 60-49 cushion one minute later.  It soon was a 62-52 lead with 2:02 remaining following Walker converting a pair of free throw attempts.  The Black Knights made it a six-point game at 62-56 with 1:43 left on the clock, then had a possession to cut into the margin even more. 
Walker would grab a defensive rebound after an Army missed shot and was fouled with 50.7 seconds left.  He walked to the other end of the floor and made both free throws.  Army's Tucker Blackwell quickly scored and the Black Knights called timeout with the score 64-58 and 36.5 seconds left.  Navy inbounded the ball and put it into the hands of Dorsey, who was fouled with 32.0 seconds remaining.  He matched the effort of Walker and made both foul shots to return it to an eight-point game. 
Army again hustled the ball down the court and the Black Knights were rewarded when Jalen Rucker scored on a layup with 24.6 seconds left.  The Mids inbounded the ball to Davis, who was fouled with 23.8 seconds showing.  He too made both attempts from the charity stripe to push the lead back to 68-60.  It took just over eight seconds for Rucker to score another layup (68-62, 15.0).  Following a timeout, the Mids inbounded the ball to Summers, who was fouled with 12.6 seconds remaining. He missed his first foul shot but made the second to make it a three-possession game and account for the final points in a 69-62 decision.
Navy turned the ball over seven more times in the second half, but Army scored just four points after those miscues.  The Mids also allowed the Black Knights to score just two fast break points over the final 20 minutes of play.
Army made 25 field goals and six triples to the 22 and five, respectively, made by Navy.  However, the Mids were 20-26 from the foul line –– 15-16 in the second half –– and the Black Knights were only 6-12 from the charity stripe (2-4 after intermission).
Navy held a 42-29 advantage on the glass and forced the Black Knights into nearly as many turnovers (11) as the Mids committed (14).
Summers posted his first double-double of the season and fourth of his career.  He totaled 13 points, eight rebounds and two assists in the second half. 
"Greg had a monster game, which was really important for us," said DeChellis.  "We tried to get him in the open so he could drive the basketball, and then he made his free throws.  He really carried us in the second half."
"I'm just continuing to be aggressive, continuing to take the ball to the basket, continuing to take what the defense is giving me," said Summers.
Dorsey set a personal career high for points for the third game in a row as he finished with 13 to go along with a career-best eight rebounds.  Davis ended the game with 11 points and both Njoku and Walker contributed 10 points to give Navy five players in double figures for the first time this season.
"I thought Jalen and Pat off the bench did really good things and Austin Inge (Fr., Greensboro, N.C.) did really good things," said DeChellis.  "It was once again, a total team effort.  The guys off the bench did an unbelievable job."
Army had three of its players reach double figures, with Lonnie Grayson nearly matching the effort of Summers with 18 points, eight rebounds and four assists.
The last time Navy posted a record of at least 10-1 through the first 11 games of the year was during the 1945-46 season when those Mids began the year with an identical 10-1 record.
The Mids have won nine games in a row for the first time since the 1999-2000 team won 13-straight games.
Additionally, Navy has won eight-straight Patriot League games dating back to last year, which ties this run of the success for the fourth-longest league winning streak in program history. The last time the Mids won as many as eight league games in a row was an eight-game streak during the 2017 campaign.

The two teams met again on Sunday afternoon for the second of four total matchups. Army bounced back after a close seven-point loss on Saturday to take an 87-78 overtime victory from the Mids on Sunday. Each with a win in the books, the Black Knights and the Mids will compete for a final time at the end of February at Christl Arena in West Point, N.Y. for a pair of contests on the 20th and 21st.