Men's basketball falls to Navy in fifth consecutive loss
Eagles couldn't keep up with scoring in second half
The American University men’s basketball team (15-13) fell to the Navy Midshipmen (18-11) in Bender Arena 70-54 on Feb. 22 after not being able to maintain their momentum from the first half.
The Eagles had lost four consecutive games coming into this matchup and were hoping to win to keep the fifth seed position in the Patriot League tournament. They had previously won their game against Navy earlier in the season in Annapolis.
Navy won the tip and made the first points of the game before a layup from junior guard Lorenzo Donadio and a 3-pointer from junior forward Johnny O’Neil put the Eagles up with an early lead.
The two teams traded baskets back and forth with neither able to establish a lead. A dunk from freshman center Jermaine Ballisager Webb sparked a 9-0 scoring run for the Eagles, putting them up 6 with six minutes left in the half.
American was able to continue expanding their lead. Back-to-back layups from junior guard Colin Smalls expanded the Eagle’s lead to 8. Navy fought back with two 3-point baskets of their own and a layup, tying up the game. Junior forward Matt Rogers was able to put in a last minute basket to give the Eagles a 2 point advantage going into the second half.
Freshman guard Geoff Sprouse opened up the second half for American with a layup, but the Midshipmen countered back with a 10-point run to take a 36-30 lead over the Eagles.
Navy continued on their run, expanding it up to 9 points, until O’Neil hit a 3-point basket to bring the Eagles back within 6 points of the Midshipmen.
From there, American was not able to keep up and was outscored by the Navy 25-15.
“It was our scoring. We just weren’t keeping up with them scoring,” head coach Mike Brennan said.
In the last two minutes, the Eagles tried to regain possession of the ball through full court pressing and sending the Midshipman to the free throw line. Despite American’s efforts, Navy was able to close out the game 70-54.
“They’re a tough team. They’re in second place for a reason,” Brennan said.
O’Neil led the team in scoring with 17 points and 8 rebounds, Matt Rogers added 10 points and 7 rebounds and Smalls contributed 10 points on the night.
“I feel good about our guys and their mindsets. I think we will be ready for Saturday,” Brennan said.
American will travel to Baltimore on Feb. 25 to take on Loyola Maryland for their last regular season game.
This article was edited by Penelope Jennings and Nina Heller. Copy editing by Isabelle Kravis, Natasha LaChac