Navy Falls at First-Place American

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Jesse Reed scored a career-high 28 points to lead American (13-7, 9-0 PL) to a 74-52 win over visiting Navy (7-13, 2-7 PL) on Wednesday evening at Bender Arena. American won its 10th-straight game while Navy lost its fourth in a row.
“I just think they were better than we were tonight,” head coach Ed DeChellis said. “We’ve had trouble scoring on the road and that continued tonight. We made a lot of mistakes which led to our misfortune. But they’re a good team and they’ve gone through the first half of the league undefeated. So hats off to them. They did a good job.”
Navy hung with American early in the contest and trailed 10-8 before a 7-0 spurt put the Eagles out in front. After Navy cut the deficit to five at 21-16 following a three pointer by freshman Zach Fong and a bucket by freshman James Hemphill, the hosts closed the first half on a 16-1 run.
American took a 37-17 lead into the break and the 20-point halftime deficit was Navy’s largest of the season.
American opened the second half on a three pointer by Reed and was leading 44-22 when a 6-0 Navy run cut the deficit to 16. Sophomores Will Kelly and Kendall Knorr hit two free throws apiece before a steal and a breakaway layup by freshman Payne Andrus capped the 6-0 spurt.
American again pushed its lead to 20 at 50-30 before Fong hit two three pointers and a long-range jumper to cut the margin to 14, the smallest of the second half, at 52-38.
The Eagles’ biggest lead of the game was at 26 with under two minutes to play, but Navy freshman Michael Brown scored four points in the final minute, while also scoring Navy’s final six points, for the 74-52 final.
American shot 53.8 percent (21-of-39) for the game while Navy shot just 37 percent (17-of-46). The Mids were just 6-of-25 (24 percent) from the floor in the first half. American also made 24 of its 31 free throw attempts (77 percent) and outrebounded Navy, 35-22.
“We didn’t make any shots in the first half at all and we let them get comfortable,” said DeChellis. “And in the second half, all we did was foul them. They didn’t have that many field goals but we just kept on fouling them and sending them to the free throw line and they are a very good free throw shooting team.”
Reed’s 28 points came on 8-of-10 shooting from the field and he was 6-of-8 on three pointers. Center Tony Wroblicky had eight points and a game-high 16 rebounds while blocking four shots.
Fong led Navy with 11 points and junior forward Worth Smith had nine points and five rebounds. Two of Smith’s buckets came on put-back dunks.
Navy will next play at Lafayette (0-9 PL) on Saturday at 2:00 PM. Navy defeated Lafayette, 79-71, in Annapolis on January 5.

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