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Men’s Basketball Notebook: Army and Navy gear up for a rematch on the hardwood

The teams are slated to tip-off on Saturday afternoon in West Point at 1:30 p.m.

NCAA Basketball: Navy at Virginia Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

It is not going to get much worse than the past week did for the academies. They combined to go 1-5 on the week, as the Naval Academy was the only squad to pick up a victory.

But we turn our heads to a new week that includes another Army-Navy matchup. Last time out, the Black Knights had the largest comeback victory in Patriot League history, so the Midshipmen must have revenge on their minds.

With three televised basketball games, fans of the academies will get a buffet of basketball. It all starts on Monday and finishes with two games on Saturday.

Nothing beats some hoops the day before the Super Bowl.

Results

Tuesday:

Utah State 73, Air Force 46

Wednesday:

Loyola (MD) 61, Army 57

Lehigh 63, Navy 62

Saturday:

Holy Cross 69, Army 65

Navy 56, Loyola (MD) 55

New Mexico 91, Air Force 77

Schedule

Monday:

Lafayette vs Navy – 7 p.m. (CBS Sports Network)

Tuesday:

Air Force vs UNLV – 10 p.m. (Mountain West Network)

Wednesday:

Army vs Boston U – 7 p.m. (ESPN+)

Saturday:

Navy vs Army – 1:30 p.m. (CBS Sports Network)

Air Force vs San Diego State – 8 p.m. (Fox Sports 1)

Army – Navy

Here we go again… January 22nd, 2022, will forever be a date that is cemented in the minds of these two programs.

Army came back from down 27, picking up the largest comeback victory in Patriot League history to beat its rival Navy. Now, you must think the Midshipmen and Ed DeChellis will not forget this. With a loss, they’d be swept by Army for the second time in three seasons.

Now heading into this week, Navy sits in second place and Army third. The Patriot League has truly become anyone’s game.

Navy’s won three of four with its only loss being against Lehigh last Wednesday, 63-62. On Saturday, they beat Loyola (MD) by one with a Jaylen Walker baseline jumper for the win with 13 seconds remaining.

“We have a fiber to us. The kids are going to continue to fight,” Navy head coach Ed DeChellis said postgame on Saturday.

The Midshipmen currently sit a game out of first placed Colgate.

Army has not been able to capitalize off the Navy win, losing three of the last four. This past week they were swept by Loyola (MD) and Holy Cross. Head coach Jimmy Allen took all the blame for the Loyola loss, saying “I did a terrible job of getting our team ready and adjusting to what Loyola was doing.”

Both teams have an excellent opportunity to gain momentum down the stretch of the regular season with a win on Sunday. As always, it will be an absolute battle.

Air Force

The young Falcons have reached a tough stretch of Mountain West play, losing both games this week by an average score of 20.5 points.

On Tuesday, they visited one of the hottest teams in the country, Utah State. The Aggies could not miss from the field, finishing the afternoon shooting 62% and winning, 73-46.

Air Force did have 10 steals on the day, but that was really its only upside. They would trail the Aggies by double digits for the final 23 minutes of the game.

In the second game of the week, Air Force would host New Mexico on CBS Sports Network. Star freshman Ethan Taylor was not available, and it would once again be a struggle on the defensive end.

The Lobos shot 59% from the field and led by a 17-2 run they won by a score of 91-77.

Early in the first half, New Mexico was dominating but the Falcons kept cutting it down to an eight-point lead. From there, Air Force opened the half on an 18-8 run, cutting the Lobos lead down to three. It would not get any closer than that. The Lobos went on another 9-0 run, closing out the Falcons’ chances.

Air Force scored a season-high 77 points on the game, draining a season-high 18 free throws. Freshmen Jake Heidbreder and Jeffrey Mills both had career games as Heidbreder scored a season-high for a freshman this season, 20 points, while Mills made his first career start.

This week, Air Force will look for the season sweep against UNLV then travel out to Viejas Arena to face the San Diego State Aztecs. A win this week could do a lot for the young team’s morale heading forward.