The second iteration of this years’ Army-Navy Basketball doubleheader is on the horizon for this Saturday. On February 22, both the men’s and women’s teams of Army West Point and Navy will face-off in West Point.
The narrative for both games are the same, but also the opposite. In the first meeting between the Midshipmen and the Black Knights, Navy’s women won the first match, however Army’s men won the second. The winners of the first doubleheader are looking to win a star for their school in the overall record across all Army-Navy competitions throughout the 2019-2020 school year. Conversely, the teams who came up short previously, will be looking to redeem themselves and split the two-game series.
How to watch:
Current Record: Navy Women 7-18; Navy Men 13-13; Army Women 6-19; Army Men 13-13
City: West Point, NY
Arena: Christl Arena
Tickets: Starting at $16 on StubHub
Tip-off Time: Women at 11:00am ET, Men 1:30pm ET
TV: CBS Sports Network
In the first game between these two teams, the Midshipmen benefited from the home court advantage and held off Army’s last minute push, winning 57-45.
In that match, the Mids dominated the second and third quarters, outscoring Army 24-15 in those frames. Furthermore, Navy capitalized on the Black Knights’ turnovers, scoring a total of 25 points off turnovers. Mary Kate Ulasewicz led all Midshipmen with 23 points while Lindsey Scamman led Army with 21.
Coming into this weekend, neither team is in contention for the top spot in the Patriot League. But that clearly doesn’t mean this won’t be a competitive and exciting game. As for a prediction of the outcome, that’s a tough one. Both teams will be motivated to win, especially Army. Additionally, the Midshipmen will have a long bus ride from Annapolis, Maryland to West Point. Navy’s extensive travel and the desire to break even by the Black Knights appear to give Army the upper-hand walking into the Arena come Saturday. In a fierce battle, the Black Knights could come away with a close victory.
Men to follow
When these two squads played in Annapolis back in January, we saw a pretty unexpected basketball game. Before tip-off, the Midshipmen were the clear favorite. Navy had a better record, they were at home, and had played well against better opponents even in their losses earlier in the year. Despite all this, the Black Knights came out and dominated pretty much the entire game. Army cruised to victory, though Navy gave a late scare thanks to some Cam Davis heroics, before falling 73-66.
Explaining the loss for the Midshipmen was easy. Navy’s defense, which had played decently earlier in the year was almost non-existent. Additionally, Army’s star seniors, Tommy Funk and Matt Wilson, played their best games of their careers against the Midshipmen. While Funk and Wilson have been a headache for Navy in the past, this game they were a fully developed migraine. Funk and Wilson led all Black Knights with 26 and 18 points respectively. The Midshipmen hardly looked like the same team that took Virginia down to wire earlier in the season.
Just like the women, Navy’s men will have to overcome the fatigue of traveling in order to compete. Furthermore, the team defense that Navy played to hold Virginia to 65 points will be necessary to keep Funk and Wilson in check. Lastly, if key playmaker, John Carter Jr. shoots better than 2-for-14 from the field, the Midshipmen will have an improved chance at winning.
Because the Midshipmen have the deeper bench, this will allow them to have the quicker step late in the game. Late in the game, Army players will miss free throws, make unforced turnovers, and get out rebounded. This will open up the opportunity for Navy to head home with the win. All the Midshipmen need to do is make their shots.