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Service Academy Basketball Roundup: Army Wins Star Series in OT, Air Force Falls to Wyoming

With seconds remaining, the Navy men sent the rivalry game into overtime

NCAA Basketball: Wyoming at Air Force Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Rivalry weekend for the Star Series was just as entertaining as expected with Navy keeping it close and forcing the men’s game into overtime. Out wets, Wyoming was able to beat both Air Force men and women following one of the best victories of the season for service academy basketball when the Air Force women took down Fresno State earlier in the week.

Here’s a recap of the basketball victories and losses for the weekend.

Army-Navy Men

After losing to Loyola, (77-81), the Black Knights met the Mids on Saturday, coming out victorious in the star series, (86-75).

In an all out battle that ended in overtime, there was no sure sign of a winner until the remaining few seconds. Mids Cam Davis and Greg Summers gave Navy an early 8-5 lead at the 17:14 minute mark but after after a series of missed three-pointers, Alex King and Matt Wilson brought the Cadets back to an even 10-10 score. Wilson was one of four cadets with double digit scoring during the game. The senior forward netted 13 points and 12 rebounds to record a double-double. Both teams would tie the score 11 times each before Army’s five-point series and a foul at overtime secured them the gold star.

While the Cadets made serious efforts at unanswered points in the first half, the Mids consistently answered. With just over seven minutes remaining, Army went for a seven-point stretch before Davis, and later, Luke Loehr nailed a three pointer to revive the Mids. With 28 points, Davis was Navy’s top scorer during the afternoon, but also one of three double digit scorers on the team.

Completing 42 percent of three-point opportunities and making 27 points off turnovers, the Cadets long-range shooting efficiency and timely possessions was evident, especially under pressure. With Army leading down the stretch, Funk hit a pair of free throws to put the Black Knights up 67-61, but poor free throw shooting the rest of the way coupled with a three from Davis and five free throws between Davis and Evan Wieck allowed Navy to tie the game and force overtime.

A 7-0 and 5-0 point run by Army sealed their fate in the series, however, leaving Navy on the losing end at 86-75.

Army (14-13, 9-7 Conf.) men will host Holy Cross, Wednesday at 7pm and meet Colgate at 12pm Saturday, February 29, before the first round of the Patriot League Tournament.

Navy (13-14, 7-9 Conf.) have a meeting with Loyola, Wednesday at 7pm and Lafayette, Saturday, February 29 at 2pm.

Army-Navy Women

After a victory over Loyola, the Army women continued in ending their lengthy skid with a rivalry win over Navy, 62-52.

The teams were off to an easy back-and-fourth to open the contest with Navy catching the lead early on thanks to Mary Kate Ulasewicz, Laurel Jaunich and Morgan Taylor. Though the Cadets faired better overall with their free throw opportunities, the Mids possessed multiple aggressive jumpers. Ulasewicz netted 10 points, 6 assists and was 4-4 from the FT line while Morgan Taylor totaled a team-high of 15 points.

Going into the second half, the Black Knights secured a lead after a series of points and free throws made by the Navy trio of Taylor, Lindsay Llewellyn, and Nyah Garrison. The Cadets were shooting 50.0 percent (5-10) from the field, versus Navy’s 18.2 percent (2-11).

In the second half, Army saw more double digit scoring appearances by Natalie Stralkus and Kate Murray. A three pointer by Taylor and layup thanks to Garrison brought the scoring deficit closer for Navy at 28-26. However, Army soon responded with a 7-point unanswered scoring drive that lasted 2:30. In the contest close out, Navy didn’t waiver, with Taylor shooting another three with 5:50. But the Black Knights continued to respond, ending with an 11-3 run to take home the Star.

Army (7-19, 3-12 Conf.) will travel to Holy across Wednesday, February 26, for a 7pm tip off.

Navy (7-19, 2-13 Conf.) will meet Loyola Wednesday, February 26, for a 5:30 pm tip off.

Air Force Men

The double digit scoring was shared among three Air Force players but Wyoming’s Greg Milton III was a clear threat in the contest. The Falcons fell in a close match up, 78-72.

While scoring leaders Lavelle Scottie, Caleb Morris, and Ryan Swan netted baskets early on, Milton managed to score six of his first nine shots during the first half, making for a third of the Cowboys total points in the first two quarters.

Air Force made attempts to retain their six-point lead in the second half but Wyoming was prepared to answer the deficit. While both teams maintained a close free throw shooting margin, the Cowboys with 81 percent (9-11) and Falcons at 80 percent (12-15), Air Force failed to make threes in the end.

Air Force (10-18, 4-12) will host New Mexico on Wednesday, February 26, at 7 pm MT. It will be broadcast by ESPN3.

Air Force Women

In a similar, but unfortunate fashion, the women’s team also suffered a loss to Wyoming, 68-52.

The Falcons held their weight in the first half with Cierra Winters and Kaelin Immel both netting 5 points a piece, but in overall scoring, the Cowboys had them beat. Wyoming continued to build on their 37-22 lead after an easy contest to open the game.

A three-pointer on the part of Wyoming’s Quinn Weidemann was the first peak at their team’s shooting edge. Weidemann scored 24 points total in the afternoon, 12 in each half. She shared the victory with Taylor Rusk and Tereza Vitulova, who while not high in single scoring, were both 2-2 in free throws and netted 3 assists.

Air Force only managed to shoot 35 percent from the field (11-31) and 20 percent of their three-pointers, (2-11).

Air Force (7-20, 5-11 Conf.) will travel to meet Mew Mexico on Wednesday, February 24 for a 7pm matchup.