Patriot League Quarterfinals

Colgate Upends Navy, 64-59, in Patriot League Quarterfinals

By Kathy Orton
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, March 5, 2009

Navy Coach Billy Lange didn't have an answer for why the Midshipmen missed so many layups, jump shots and three-pointers. Whatever the reason was -- nerves, pressure or just an off night -- Navy couldn't seem to find a way to put the ball in the basket.

A poor offensive performance doomed the Midshipmen to yet another setback in the Patriot League tournament. Third-seeded Navy, which lost, 64-59, in overtime to sixth-seeded Colgate in the quarterfinals at Alumni Hall last night, has now lost nine straight league tournament games. The Midshipmen's last win in this tournament came in 2001.

"This is a great group," said Lange, who is now 0-5 in the tournament. "I'm disappointed for them, not in them."

Sixth-seeded Colgate (10-19) advanced to play No. 2 Holy Cross in Sunday's semifinals.

Navy (19-11) appeared to have everything in its favor heading into the game. The Midshipmen swept the Raiders during the regular season. They were playing at home, where they were 12-2 this season and 9-1 in Patriot League tournament games. And they were playing an undermanned Colgate team that starts three freshmen and hadn't won a game since senior forward Alex Woodhouse (Hayfield) suffered a knee injury in mid-February.

Yet after scoring on its first five possessions to start the game, Navy's offense stagnated. The Midshipmen stopped passing the ball to find the open shooter and started taking quick shots. Hardly any time would come off the shot clock before they were launching ill-advised shots. Navy, which has the league's top scoring offense, made only three field goals in the final 14 minutes of the first half. The Midshipmen made just 32.2 percent of their shots, their third-worst effort of the season.

"We took some quick shots," said senior Kaleo Kina, who scored 23 points. "They made some shots. We rushed it a little bit."

In contrast, Colgate showed exceptional patience on the offensive end. The Raiders waited until the shot clock was in single digits before looking at the basket. It was an effective strategy, as Navy spent more time playing defense -- its weakness -- than offense. The Midshipmen couldn't stop freshman Yaw Gyawu (20 points) or junior Ben Jonson (career-high 22 points).

Navy had three opportunities to score on its final possession of regulation but Kina missed a jump shot, O.J. Avworo missed a layup and Adam Teague missed a three-pointer. Colgate was left with 9.5 seconds to score, but time expired before the Raiders found an open shot.

Given that five of Navy's last nine Patriot League tournament games have gone to overtime, it wasn't too much of a surprise that this one also needed five more minutes to be decided. Chris Harris, who scored his 1,000th point earlier in the game, made a jump shot to open the scoring and put the Midshipmen ahead. But Colgate quickly answered, scoring six unanswered points to take a 60-56 lead.

Navy trailed by one when Teague stole the ball with less than a minute to go. The Midshipmen nearly threw the ball away twice before Harris's jumper missed. In the final seconds, Kina missed a pair of three-pointers that would have tied the score. Instead, Navy dropped to 4-12 in quarterfinal games and was again left to wonder when it would finally win a Patriot League tournament game.

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