Army Basketball wins double OT thriller over Navy
February 13, 2012
WEST POINT, N.Y. (Feb. 13, 2012) -- Army (11-14, 4-6 PL) overcame a four-point deficit in the first overtime and outscored Navy (3-21, 0-10 PL) 13-7 in the second extra session to claim a 69-63 win in the annual "Star Game" in front of a Christl Arena record crowd of 5,189 Saturday afternoon. The win gave the Black Knights their first season sweep of the Mids since 1992.
Sophomore guard Josh Herbeck led Army with a game-high 19 points, including the go-ahead three-pointer in the second overtime. He also tied his career high with eight rebounds. Herbeck made three of Army's six three-pointers move into 10th place on the Black Knights' career list with 101. Junior forward Ella Ellis added 17 points, his 27th straight game in double figures, while rookie guard Maxwell Lenox scored a career-high 13 points, dished out four assists and made a career-high five steals.
Army led by five at halftime and by as many as 10 in the second half, but Navy used a 16-5 spurt to take a one-point lead with 7:35 remaining. The lead changed hands three more times before Thurgood Wynn tied the game at 45-45 with a free throw. Neither team scored during the final 1:45, sending the game into overtime. The Black Knights had a chance to win in regulation, but Ellis' three-point try was off the mark at the buzzer. Army went the last four minutes, 23 seconds of the second half without a field goal.
The Black Knights scored the first two points of overtime on a two free throws by Lenox, but the Mids reeled off six straight points to take a 51-47 lead with 2:38 left in the period. Navy led 53-49 with less than two minutes remaining when Herbeck curled off a screen and drained a three-pointer to trim Army's deficit to one point with 1:50 to go. Brennan Wyatt answered with a basket, but a layup by rookie guard Mo Williams pulled the Black Knights back within a point with 55 seconds left. After the Mids missed a jumper, Army cleared the rebound and called time out with 14 seconds left. Lenox raced the length of the floor, but his layup try spun out and Navy grabbed the loose ball. The Mids made just one of two shots after the ensuing foul and Lenox redeemed himself with another full-court sprint. His layup bounced off the rim twice and dropped with 1.8 seconds left. Navy's last-ditch heave was short and the teams went to the second overtime tied at 56-56.
Army scored the first seven points of the second overtime, including a three-by Herbeck to start the period. Navy's first field goal came with just 18 seconds remaining when Wynn dropped a three-pointer from the corner to cut the Black Knights' lead to 64-61. Army hit five of six free throws in the waning seconds to hang on for its seventh home win in the last nine games.
Jordan Sugars led Navy with 14 points, while Worth Smith posted a double-double with 12 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. The Mids outrebounded Army, 47-31.
Free throws played a key role in the outcome. Army made just 16 field goals in the game (.340), but made 31 of its 41 free throw opportunities (.756). Navy shot 36.2 percent overall and hit just 17 of its 31 free throws (.548).
Both teams combined to miss the first eight shots of the game before a Smith putback with 16:44 to go gave the Mids a 2-0 lead. Senior guard Julian Simmons tied the game at 2-2 on a pair of free throws, and a jumper by Herbeck gave the Black Knights a 4-2 lead with 13:52 left. Herbeck's shot ended a six-minute, eight-second stretch with an Army field goal to start the game.
A three-pointer by Brandon Venturini started a 5-0 run that gave the Mids a 7-4 lead, but the Black Knights were able to tie the game on a free throw by Simmons and jumper by Ellis with 8:30 left on the first half clock. Sugars scored the next five points, including his first three-pointer, to put the Midshipmen back on top, and Navy extended their lead to 15-9 with 5:33 left.
The Black Knights ended the half on an 11-2 run capped by Ellis' first three-pointer that gave Army a 22-17 lead with 38 seconds left in the half. The triple snapped a 0-for-9 start from deep for the Black Knights. Army had a chance to extend its lead, but following two missed free throws by Navy, Herbeck's three-pointer was off the mark as the horn sounded.
Ellis led all players with nine points in the first half. Both Army and Navy shot 23.8 (5-21) in the opening period, but the Black Knights were able to capitalize on 11 of their 12 free throw tries, while the Mids were 5-for-14 from the line in the first 20 minutes. Sugars paced the Midshipmen with seven points in the first half.
Army scored the first points of the second half to take a seven-point lead, but the Mids answered back with a 7-3 spurt to close the gap to three points with 18:24 to go. The Black Knights found their stroke from three-point range, knocking down back-to-back triples as part of a 7-0 run that gave Army its largest lead at 34-24 with 14:03 left, setting up the frantic finish.
The Black Knights have now won the last two "Star Games" contested at West Point.