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February 15th, 2012

Black Knights take down rival Navy 69-63

Army forward Ella Ellis puts up two of his 19 points against rival Navy during the Black Knights’ 69-63, double-overtime victory. Hudson Valley Press/CHUCK STEWART, JR.

West Point - Army scored the first seven points of the second overtime session, then secured the victory with free throws down the stretch, handing the Mids a 69-63 double-overtime setback in front of a facility-record 5,189 fans at Christl Arena in West Point, N.Y.

The loss drops Navy’s record to 3-21 overall and 0-10 in the Patriot League while Army improves to 11-14 overall and 4-6 in the league standings.

Army wins the Alumni Trophy for the second time in three years. Navy leads the overall series 71-45.

It also marked the first time in 116 meetings between the two service-academy rivals that the contest went into multiple overtimes.

Navy was plagued by turnovers (26) and survived major foul issues as three Navy starters fouled out while being whistled for 30 fouls to Army’s 23. Nevertheless, the Mids had their chances in the first overtime session, leading by as many as four points and holding a two-point advantage with just 6.4 seconds left. Army freshman Maxwell Lenox drove the length of the court and hit a spinning, twisting lay-up with 1.8 seconds left to tie the game and send the contest into a second overtime session, tied at 56.

In the second overtime session, Army scored the first seven points to lead 63-56 with 33 seconds left. Navy cut the lead to three at 64-61 on a Thurgood Wynn three-pointer, but Army made five-of-six free throws in the final stretch for the final margin.

Navy’s gameplan worked to perfection during the first 40 minutes of the contest, slowing the tempo down and working the shot clock. Navy led 17-13 with 3:37 to play, but saw Army go on a 9-0 run to take a 22-17 lead at intermission.

The Midshipmen were their own worst enemy in the opening 20 minutes, committing 10 turnovers and making just 5-of-14 free throw attempts, while Army had just four turnovers and was 11-of-12 from the free throw line. Navy would miss its last seven free throw attempts in the first half.

Army would still lead 28-24 when the Black Knights connected on back-to-back threes to push the lead to 34-24 with 14:03 left.

A three-pointer by Jordan Brickman cut the lead to five at 36-31 with 11:30 to play and Navy would grab its first lead (40-39) of the second half on a short jumper by Worth Smith with 7:55 left to play.

However, Navy couldn’t add to the lead and the two teams were tied at 45-45 with 1:45 to play. Navy had a chance to run the game clock down with its final possession, but was called for a shot clock violation with seven seconds left, giving Army one last chance at the win in regulation. Ella Ellis’ three-point attempt was off the mark and the game headed into overtime tied at 45.

In the first extra session, Navy rode the play of Isaiah Roberts, who scored four straight points to give Navy a 49-47 advantage. Navy would lead by four at 53-49 with 1:57 to play on a pair of Carlton Smith free throws. After a Josh Herbeck three-pointer trimmed the Navy lead to one at 53-52, Brennan Wyatt scored on a driving layup for a three-point advantage with 1:11 to play.

Navy then got the missed shot it needed on the defensive end, but Mo Williams grabbed the offensive rebound and scored on a putback to cut the Navy advantage to one again, 55-54, with 55 seconds left. Navy missed on its ensuing possession, but stopped Army and Roberts grabbed the rebound and was fouled with 6.4 seconds left. Roberts made one-of-two free throws to set up Lenox’s driving layup to force the second overtime.

Navy shot 21-of-58 (.362) from the field, 4-of-15 (.267) from three-point range and was 17-of-31 (.548) from the free throw line. The Mids dominated the glass, out-rebounding the Black Knights, 47-31, but converted its 16 offensive rebounds into just 10 second-chance points. Navy had a season-high 26 turnovers, including 16 in the second half and overtime sessions.

Josh Herbeck led Army with 19 points and eight rebounds.

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