Army and Navy is one of the best rivalries in all of sports. When one goes to either school to play sports, it’s engraved in their minds that they are to beat the other school, regardless of how the season has gone otherwise.
On the gridiron, the rivalry game is a staple in December. On the hardwood, fans are blessed with getting to experience the rivalry twice in a season.
Over the past two years, the road team has won each of the last four meetings. On Saturday, Army was looking to put an end to the trend, as they welcomed the Navy Midshipmen to Christi Arena in West Point.
However, Navy would continue the trend of road teams holding the leg up in the rivalry, knocking off the Black Knights 75 – 66 on Saturday afternoon.
Over the first five minutes of the contest, both teams would trade baskets as both Army and Navy were looking to gain some traction in one of the most important games of the season for both schools.
Michael Brown would make a lay-up for the Midshipmen at the 13:43 mark, giving Navy the 10 – 8 lead. From there, the Black Knights would go on a mini 9 – 0 run, headlined by 5 points from Milton Washington and Kyle Wilson’s only basket of the first half.
The lead was 17 – 10 in favour of Army, but that’s when Navy would take over the first half.
Worth Smith made a three pointer at the 9:08 mark, and that would ignite a big run for the Midshipmen. Navy would go on a 19 – 2 run over the next six-plus minutes to erase Army’ lead, and take a 29 – 19 lead of their own.
Army would trim the lead to 7, but a Shawn Anderson lay-up took the lead back up to 9 for the Midshipmen.
Navy led Army by 9 at the half, 33 – 24.
The second half opened the same way as the first half did, with both teams trading baskets with the hopes of gaining some traction and momentum on the offensive end. Navy was able to stretch their lead to 10 points, thanks to a Brandon Venturini here-pointer at the 17:26 mark.
Kyle Wilson, Army’s star guard, was quiet in the first half, but started to find the score sheet as the second half progressed. Thanks to some timely costless throw shooting and a three pointer, Wilson was able to bring the Black Knights back to within 2 points, 48 – 46, with just under 8 minutes to play.
For Army, that’s as close as they would get the rest of the way. Army was never able to retake the lead, and Navy slowly rebuilt their lead as the game progressed.
Kendall Knorr would score 13 points for the Midshipmen over the last five minutes of the game, including 11-of-12 from the costless throw line to pace the team.
Navy would go on to score their third conference win of the season, a 75 – 66 decision over the Army Black Knights.
Navy used a well-balanced offensive attack to lead them to victory, as they had four players score in double figures in the win. Kendall Knorr led the way, scoring a team-high 17 points in a winning effort, with the bulk of his scoring coming down the stretch to help secure the victory.
Brandon Venturini added in 15 points, on 6-of-16 shooting, while Worth Smith added in 12 points of his own.
On the Army sideline, Kyle Wilson struggled in the first half, but ended up with a game-high 18 points in the loss. Forward Tanner Plomb recorded 17 points and 8 rebounds for the Black Knights.
This is one of the best rivalries on the football field, but it is slowly becoming a great one on the basketball court. These teams face off again later this season in Annapolis, when Navy welcomes Army to town on February 7th.
Up next for Navy (7 – 9, 3 – 1) is another tough road test, as the Midshipmen travel to take on Chris Hass and the Bucknell Bison.
Up next for Army (10 – 5, 1 – 3) is a tough road date of their own, as they look to turn their Patriot League season around. The Black Knights travel to take on Holy Cross on Wednesday.