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Men’s Basketball Notebook: Service Academies will look to build off toughest week yet

For the first time this season they finished the week under .500.

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

For the first time this season, the Service Academies went winless in a week. It wasn’t exactly pretty, as both teams got dominated on the road in losses of more than 20 points. But every non-conference trip can be used as a learning experience.

Army got dominated from start to finish in Long Island, losing to the Sharks 90-65. Air Force had no response for double-double machine Norchad Omier and Arkansas State, losing to the Red Wolves by a score of 68-46.

Now, this week isn’t all that plentiful, but at least every team plays. Once again, it’ll be a battle to go over five hundred but if everyone wants to carry momentum into conference play, they must keep it close.

Results

Sunday

  • LIU 90, Army 65
  • Arkansas State 68, Air Force 46

This Week

Tuesday

  • Air Force vs. Tarleton State – 8 p.m. (ESPN+)

Wednesday

  • Towson vs. Navy – 1 p.m. (ESPN+)
  • Army vs. South Carolina – 3 p.m. (SECN+)

Air Force

Luckily for Air Force, Arkansas State will be one of the most versatile teams they’ve seen this season. But on the downside, if they want to compete with the top of the Mountain West they’ll have to stop teams with an inside presence, and they weren’t able to do that on Sunday.

Norchad Omier is one of the most underrated big men in the nation, and Air Force overlooked him on Sunday. He finished the afternoon with a double-double at 22 points and 16 rebounds. That was the phenom from Nicaragua’s sixth this season and 21st through 34 games in a Red Wolves jersey.

Several big scoreless droughts by the Falcons allowed the Red Wolves to pull away, as Air Force suffered its worst loss of the season, 68-46.

Air Force shot a season-low 32% from the field and 29% from three-point range, as no Falcon scored double digits.

This week, they’ll head to Texas to face a Tarleton State team who just dominated the favorite in Arkansas State’s league, South Alabama.

The Texans run heavily through three players, Montre Gipson, Tahj Small, and Shakur Daniel. On the defensive side of the ball, Shamir Bogues is eighth in the nation in steal percentage.

Army

Sunday was brutal for the Black Knights.

They took the trip east to Long Island to play the Sharks, giving LIU their second division one win of the season, 90-65.

Trailing by 23 at halftime, it would get worse and worse, as Army trailed by as much as 32 at a time.

The three-point ball made a difference as the Sharks made 16 of those. Army only made seven, having two players score in double digits. The Sharks had their whole starting lineup score double digits.

“Full credit to LIU. They played very well and shot the ball well. We didn’t respond the way we needed to when we fell in a hole,” Army head coach Jimmy Allen said postgame.

Army will play a banged-up South Carolina Gamecock team on Wednesday in Columbia. Josh Caldwell will look to shock his hometown team, who is coming off a tough loss against rival Clemson on Sunday, 70-56.

Navy

After a tough week of basketball, Navy took the week off due to finals. They’ll play one last tune-up against local rival, Towson on Wednesday.

There are not many hotter teams in the country than the Tigers, who have won six of seven with their only loss being against No. 14 Ohio State.

Transfers Terry Nolan and Cam Holden have been some of the most impactful in the nation this season, as Nolan is averaging 12.6 points per game, and Holden is just shy of averaging a double-double with 14.3 points per game and 9.6 rebounds per game.

Tagging along with them, guards Jason Gibson and Nicolas Timberlake both average double-digit points.

The Tigers’ KenPom page is full of green, including the No. 1 ranking in the country in steal percentage.

It should be a battle, but one that KenPom has the Midshipmen winning.