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Mids miss chance
ANNAPOLIS | Navy basketball coach Billy Lange often preaches offensive harmony, a combination of smart decisions and fluid movement in the motion offense.
The Midshipmen happened to hit a bad note at the wrong time Wednesday night.
Navy missed layups for much of the evening, and Ben Jonson scored a career-high 22 points for Colgate as the Raiders escaped with a 64-59 overtime victory in the Patriot League quarterfinals before 1,529 at Alumni Hall.
The Midshipmen (19-11) were denied their first victory in the Patriot League tournament since 2001 and their first 20-win season since 2000.
“You have to make shots, especially in a five-point game,” Lange said. “I’m not knocking our guys, but you have to make shots. You have to put the ball in the basket.”
Navy shot 32.2 percent from the floor, much of it from close range, to negate a 23-point night from senior guard Kaleo Kina.
Meeting again just four days after the Mids completed their first regular-season sweep of the Raiders (10-19) since 2001, Navy built up a 24-14 lead before its shaky decisions began to surface.
Colgate exploited those deficiencies, took its first lead early in the second half and had a chance to close out the Mids in regulation before Kina’s 3-point play tied it at 52-52 with 2:24 left. Navy took three shots for the lead in the final minute, only to miss them all.
Navy also had repeated chances in the final minute of overtime to either tie or take the lead. Chris Harris missed with less than 25 seconds to go, and Colgate’s Yaw Gyawu quickly followed up with two free throws to make it 62-59.
Kina, though, twice had an opportunity to tie the score with a 3-pointer, clanking on both. Navy’s last chance to tie was stifled when Clif Colbert’s inbounds pass sailed past everyone and bounced harmlessly out of bounds.
“It’s up to us to execute, and the other team plays hard, too,” Kina said. “They tried to take us out of some stuff. It just wasn’t there for us tonight.”
The Raiders advanced to a Sunday date at second-seeded Holy Cross, which upended Bucknell 75-56 on Wednesday night.
It was the second straight year Navy was bounced in the tournament’s opening round in overtime. The Mids lost in three overtimes to Bucknell a season ago when a halfcourt heave banked in to deal Navy an 87-86 loss.
That defeat - and the other postseason setbacks preceding it - went unmentioned before Wednesday night. Instead, Lange insisted he was disappointed for his players, who won 11 games this season by six points or fewer.
That certainly sounds good - and a lot more harmonious than keeping an opponent in the 50s in regulation and still facing the suddenness of the end of a season.
About the Author
Patrick Stevens has covered Maryland and other Mid-Atlantic college sports for more than a decade. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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