Well, well, well, the predictions were true.
It was another great week for the academies in basketball, as they combined to go 5-0. Navy and its defense dominated two local opponents, as Air Force and Army squeezed by theirs.
Sadly, that won’t happen again as Army and Air Force will face off for the Silver Star on Saturday in Colorado Springs. The game will be nationally televised on Stadium, as both teams look to continue their winning ways.
Outside of that, it is a light schedule for the academies as Army and Navy each a play a game apiece.
I guess we could settle for a 3-1 record
- Navy 89, Washington College (MD) 40
- Air Force 66, Denver 65
- Army 65, Marist 61
- Navy 67, Mount St.Mary’s 40
- Air Force 59, Idaho State 48
- Siena vs Army - 7 p.m. (ESPN+)
- William & Mary vs Navy - 7 p.m. (ESPN+)
- Army vs Air Force - 4 p.m. (Stadium)
The Midshipmen defense put on a clinic yet again, holding their opponents to a total of 40 points in both games this past week.
“Coming in after the weekend, we really defended down there, we really defended Radford,” Navy head coach Ed DeChellis said after the game. “I’m really trying to build this team from a defense rebounding side up because some nights offensively the ball doesn’t go in the basket for you.”
That was shown as Navy held Washington College to 28% from the field, tallying 28 defensive rebounds, and allowing the Shoremen to only hit four shots in the first half on Wednesday. At a time, the Midshipmen scored 21 straight, tying their longest streak of consecutive points since play-by-play box scores became available in 1983-84.
At the half, they led 47-15, and it just grew from there, winning by a final score of 89-40. Navy played disciplined basketball, shooting 57.8% from the field and scoring their most points in a game since November of 2017, which also happened to be against Washington College on the day before Thanksgiving.
“Sometimes when games get a little lopsided, guys try to do things they can’t do and then things get out of control. I thought, for the most part, our kids played under control,” DeChellis said.
It was also a special afternoon as all 18 Midshipmen who dressed played and scored a bucket.
“It’s special, it’s the dream of some of those guys to play college basketball at a division-one level and they had the chance to go out there and score their first college points, it’s just really cool,” guard John Carter Jr. said.
On Saturday, Navy took care of business again, dominating the Mountaineers of Mount St. Mary’s by a score of 67-40. The Midshipmen did not allow a single Mount player to score in double digits, as they shot 23.4% from the field, making five shots in the first half and six in the second.
The Midshipmen won both halves by double-digits en route to their fourth consecutive victory.
Navy will look to continue their win streak as they host the Tribe from William & Mary on Wednesday.
Joe Scott and the Air Force Falcons have won six in a row, tying their longest win streak since 2007. Now all the wins may have not been sexy, but they’re getting the job done.
One guy who is spearheading this attack is AJ Walker. On Monday, he was named the Mountain West Player of the Week, racking in his fourth accolade of this young season.
Walker played 78 of the 80 possible minutes this week, scoring 27 against Denver and 19 against Idaho State. Through those two, he shot a stellar 7-8 from deep, missing a total of six shots all week.
“My teammates were just finding me, and I tried to reward them by hitting the open shot. It was fun,” Walker said.
He was the first Falcon to win Mountain West player of the week since 2016.
Next to him, Ethan Taylor won Mountain West Freshman of the Week for the second consecutive week. In the 66-65 win against Denver, he picked up his first career double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds.
“It’s definitely been amazing, not gonna lie,” Taylor said after the Idaho State game, “I’m learning every day.”
The Falcons blew a 22-point lead in that game as Michael Henn hit a jumper for Denver giving them the lead with 49 seconds left. Luckily, Jake Heidbreder made two free throws at the line with 30 seconds left to secure the victory for the Falcons.
“I know when the games are on the line, he’s a basketball player. When games are on the line, they step up,” head coach Joe Scott said postgame.
On Saturday, Air Force overcame a 24-21 deficit at the half to beat Idaho State by double digits. The Falcons flew out of the break with a 12-0 run and wouldn’t look back from there.
Air Force finished a strong defensive evening by holding the Bengals to 29.3% from the field. The Falcons shot a season-best 54.5% from the field.
They’ll look to make their winning streak seven as they host rival Army on Saturday.
The Black Knights stayed unbeaten at home this season with a tight 65-61 victory over the Marist Red Foxes on Saturday pushing their win streak to five over the school from Poughkeepsie.
It was a tough first half for Army as they went into the break with a tie score of 27-27. Out of the half, the Black Knights sparked up a 12-2 run and would lead from there on out.
“In the first half, we were dribbling too much and playing into their defensive strategy. So, in the second half, we wanted to move the ball more, not be easy to guard. Once we were able to get out in transition a couple times, we were able to get some wide-open shots, and luckily me teammates found me,” Jalen Rucker said postgame.
Rucker led the way for the Black Knights scoring 24 on the afternoon. The win moved Army to 3-0 on the season at home.
They will look for another home win on Tuesday as they play the Siena College Saints for the first time since the 1989-90 season. Army will follow that up with a trip to Colorado to play the Air Force Falcons on Saturday. The Black Knights have won five of the last six matchups against AFA.
“We just got to keep our offensive and defensive principles, keep doing what we do. We like to play tough; we play hard. We like to just get out and run, we’re a fast basketball team, so we just got to keep pushing the tempo,” Jared Cross said postgame.
Ken Pomeroy’s metrics are lining up for another solid week for the academies, with the only loss being Army against Air Force. They will all look to finish off a good month of November and add on to a cumulative record of 15-5.