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Service Academy Basketball Update: Navy Setting the Tone in Early Patriot League Play

The Midshipmen win their second conference contest of the week to remain in first place in the Patriot League.

NCAA Basketball: Maryland at Navy Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Navy (5-8 overall; 2-0 in Patriot League)

The Midshipmen played only one game since our last update, but boy was it a good one. Navy improved to 2-0 in the Patriot League after its second upset in a row by defeating Holy Cross (10-5; 1-1) in Annapolis. While Navy’s field goal percentage wasn’t particularly impressive, the Midshipmen were able to overcome the Crusaders in two key areas of the box score. First, Navy looked to their bench depth by using eleven players in the contest, nine of which contributed to the team point total compared to just eight players and six scorers from Holy Cross. Second, and perhaps most impressive, was Navy’s dominance on the boards. The Midshipmen out-rebounded the Crusaders by a 47-27 margin in their second straight Patriot League victory.

Navy will continue Patriot League play this week splitting a road and home game. The Patriot League-leading Midshipmen will take on American (7-6; 1-1) in D.C. Wednesday night before hosting Boston University (8-7; 1-1) on Saturday. The American game will serve as a great litmus test for the Midshipmen as the Eagles are 85% favorites to win per ESPN BPI.

NET Rank (as of 1/7): 252

Games this week: at American 1/9 and vs. Boston University 1/12

Team Leaders: PPG - George Kiernan 11.3; RPG – John Carter, Jr. 5.2; APG – Hasan Abdullah 3.8; SPG - Abdullah 1.9

Army (6-9 overall; 1-1 in Patriot League)

The Black Knights won their first Patriot League game of the season after defeating Lafayette (3-10; 0-2) this past weekend. Army West Point shot an impressive 52.6% from the field and 83% form the free-throw line in the win. Cayne Edwards led Army with a season-high 16 points after shooting a perfect 100% (8-8) and also added six rebounds from the bench.

Army has a chance to continue its winning ways this week, but will have to do so on the road (where Army has struggled aside from its big win at Air Force). Army is currently in the middle of the pack of the young Patriot League season with a 1-1 record along with five other teams.

NET Rank: 283

Games this week: at Boston University 1/9 and at Loyola (MD) 1/12

Team Leaders: PPG – Matt Wilson 14.7; RPG - Wilson 8.1; APG – Thomas Funk 6.6; SPG – Josh Caldwell 1.3

Air Force (5-10 overall; 0-3 in Mountain West)

Air Force suffered a 17-point loss to the Aggies of Utah State (11-4; 1-1) on Saturday and another double digit loss to the Colorado State Rams (6-10; 1-2) just three days later. The Falcons have now lost five of their last six games to include their first three games of Mountain West Conference place. Against Utah State, the Falcons were without star player Ryan Swan due to concussion protocol, but Keaton Van Soelen and Lavelle Scottie took control and combined for thirty points in the loss. Swan returned to the lineup against Colorado State but was ultimately responsible for six of the team’s 16 turnovers that eventually led to Air Force’s tenth loss of the season.

Air Force continues Mountain West action this weekend with a home game against San Diego State (9-6; 1-1).

NET Rank: 271

Games this week: vs. San Diego State 1/12

Team Leaders: PPG – Scottie 12.7; RPG – Swan 5.8; APG – Sid Tomes 2.8