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Men’s Basketball Notebook: Navy splits series with Army as teams go on separate paths

Navy had a 2-0 week as both Air Force and Army went 0-2

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: NOV 15 Navy at Louisville Photo by Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The results during this Army-Navy week were a little more impactful than usual.

Navy swept their opponents and are riding high in second place of the Patriot League. Army and Air Force can’t say the same as both were the ones who got swept and are falling down the conference standings. The Black Knights have lost four straight, as the Falcons have lost five with all being by double digits for AFA.

It doesn’t get much easier for both Army and Air Force as three of their four games are against teams currently projected in the NCAA Tournament field. Navy has it easier as they play two teams who combine for a 14-34 record.

Results

Monday

Navy 68, Lafayette 44

Tuesday

UNLV 78, Air Force 44

Wednesday

Boston University 75, Navy 74

Saturday

Navy 52, Army 49

San Diego State 76, Air Force 64

Schedule

Wednesday

Colgate vs Army – 6 p.m. (ESPN+)

Navy vs American – 7 p.m. (ESPN+)

Boise State vs Air Force – 10 p.m. (Fox Sports 1)

Saturday

Holy Cross vs Navy – NOON (ESPN+)

Army vs American – 2 p.m. (ESPN+)

Air Force vs Wyoming – 4 p.m. (Mountain West Network)

Navy

Head coach Ed DeChellis has been harping on defense all season, and the Midshipmen did exactly that this past week.

In two games, Navy gave up an average of 46.5 points per game while allowing only 16 made shots in each. They also beat their rival, Army.

The Mids opened their week with a dominant second half against Lafayette, beating the Leopards by a score of 68-44. Navy gave up only 14 second-half points to the Leopards, as Lafayette went 6.5 minutes without a basket.

“Defensively, holding a team like Lafayette, a team that can really score the ball (averaging 67.0 points per game) to 44 points, 14 in the second half ... I thought we were locked in,” DeChellis said postgame.

On Saturday, Navy would look to get revenge on Army after a tough loss on their home court just a few weeks before. The Midshipmen would dominate again early, but Army began to come back as an 11-point lead was cut down to two at the break. It reminded a lot of people of the matchup just weeks before.

Navy would do its best for that not to happen though, as they began to stretch their lead back out, holding a seven-point lead with 24.3 seconds remaining. The Mids could then not sink their free throws late though, giving Army a chance to tie it up as time expired. Luckily for the Midshipmen, they didn’t sink and were able to hold the Black Knights off for a 52-49 victory.

“It is great to see smiles on the faces of my guys,” said DeChellis. ”Really a hard-fought game both ways. Just a good old-fashioned Army-Navy slugfest. A really physical basketball game. Really proud of our guys making some shots when we needed to.”

Now sitting in second place of the Patriot League, the Mids are a game and a half behind first-place Colgate. They’ll look to gain some ground as they match up against Holy Cross and American this week, teams that Navy beat the first time around.

Army

It was a tough week for Army as they fell to 7-7 with one-possession losses to both Boston University and rival Navy.

The Black Knights opened with a close loss to Boston University, 75-74. Josh Caldwell set the school record for career steals with 150 early on, as they would trail by one at the break.

Early in the second half, the Black Knights fell down nine. They would respond, taking a 73-69 lead with 2:20 remaining as Jalen Rucker sank a three.

From there, the Terriers responded with a 6-0 run that included a Suk Mathon three to give BU the victory. It was the second straight game that Army was clipped late.

”It’s a gut punch on how the game ended. We weren’t happy with how we played the last two games. We didn’t play freely or with intensity. What we saw tonight made me as proud as I have been this year,” Army head coach Jimmy Allen said postgame.

As mentioned above, the second game of this year’s Army-Navy series did not go as planned. Jalen Rucker couldn’t sink the game-tying shot in at the buzzer, as the Black Knights dropped their fourth straight.

“I thought that was as physical, and just as much of a war as you can have,” Allen said postgame, “I’m really proud of our basketball team in how we competed in the last two games.”

This week, Army will look to get back on track as they host league leader Colgate and visit American on Saturday.

Air Force

Air Force is now on their longest losing streak of the season, and it does not seem to be getting any easier for the Falcons.

On Tuesday, they were blown out of the Thomas & Mack Center being handed a 78-44 defeat against the UNLV Rebels. The Falcons opened the game with a 15-9 run but found themselves down 14 at the half.

During the second half, Air Force shot only 25%, losing the second frame by a score of 39-19. It was their fourth consecutive loss but resulted in a season split against the Rebels.

The Falcons would close out the week with an always tough matchup at Viejas Arena against San Diego State. It was a battle throughout, but the Aztecs offense was on fire shooting 64% from the field.

San Diego State came out triumphant, 76-64, after trailing by just four at halftime. AJ Walker scored 27 points, leading the way for Air Force.

This week, the Falcons will look to get back on track with matchups against the top two teams in the league, Wyoming and Boise State. Both matchups earlier this season were close, as Wyoming beat the Falcons at the buzzer a few Fridays ago at Clune Arena.