Navy Snaps Howard Win Streak
Annapolis, MD-December 4-It was a case of some poor free throw shooting, fatigue and missed opportunities that proved to be the difference as Howard University fell to Navy, 79-75 in double overtime in a non-conference men's basketball game at Alumni Hall. The loss snapped a three-game win streak for the Bison (4-4) while the Mids (7-2) won their third straight and sixth out their last seven.
Howard came into the game shooting over 73 percent as team, but the Bison missed several chances in regulation and both overtime periods that could have made a difference. After shooting 80 percent (8 of 10) in the first half, Howard missed 15 free throws in the second half and extra periods.
"It all comes down to making them," said Howard Coach Gil Jackson. "You just have to step up and make them, especially when you are on the road. We failed to do that."
Jackson refused to use fatigue as a factor, but clearly the Bison appeared to wear down as the game progressed. Howard was coming off an emotional win over Hampton University on Saturday in Madison Square Garden and it was a short turnaround of less than 48 hours against a Navy team that is off to its best start in over a decade.
"They are a good basketball team," noted Jackson. "They are disciplined, they play hard and they are well coached."
The Mids, who are one of the better free throw shooting teams in the country at 80 percent, interestingly did not have a free throw attempt in the first half, yet converted on 24 of 32 (75 percent) in the second half and overtimes.
Greg Sprink (9 of 10), Kaleo Kina (6 of 8) and Corey Johnson (6 of 10) did most of the damage.
Coach Jackson was upset with the Bison's propensity for mistakes in crucial situations and their inability to finish plays.
"We just have to do a better job of taking care of the ball," he said. "We cannot become a quality basketball team until we start making better decisions out there. In addition to that, we just have to finish plays. There were several times tonight when we did not and it would have made a difference." Howard had 13 turnovers after halftime which the Mids converted into 11 points.
Senior forward Darryl Hudson, who is playing at a high level, led the Bison with a game-high 26 points and a career-high 13 rebounds while logging 46 minutes. But the Bison got only 10 points on 4 of 13 shooting from sophomore forward Eugene Myatt, who came into the game averaging over 20 points per game and shooting almost 60 percent from the field.
"They (Navy) knew about Eugene and they doubled him, but we knew that coming in," explained Jackson. ‘He just did not play well."
Senior forward Jason Trotter recorded a double-double of 11 points and 13 rebounds off the bench while senior reserve guard Darek Mitchell and Myatt added 11 and 10, respectively.
The Mids were led by Kina with 20, Johnson with 17 and Sprink with 15 as five players scored in double figures.
NEXT UP: The Bison have little time to rest as they host American University, another hot team with a 7-2 record, on Wednesday at 7 pm in Burr Gymnasium. Howard will then complete a four-game-in-seven days stint on Saturday against the Hawks of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore in Princess Anne, MD at 12 noon. The game will be televised live on ESPNU. Navy hosts Penn on Thursday at 8 pm.