Carter carries Mids
Plebe scores 26 points as Navy evens score with archrival Army
It was obvious from the outset that John Carter Jr. came to play.
Navy’s freshman swingman stepped confidently into his first shot attempt just moments into the game and did not hesitate to pull the trigger – swishing a 3-pointer from the top of the key.
Carter’s confidence never wavered the rest of the way and his inspired performance helped the Midshipmen hold onto the prestigious Alumni Trophy.
Carter recorded a career-high 26 points on the strength of six 3pointers to lead Navy to a 79-68 victory over archrival Army West Point in the annual Star game in front of 5,448 boisterous fans at Alumni Hall. The 6-foot-4, 188-pound plebe from Spring Hill, Tennessee, made 8 of 11 field goals overall and also grabbed seven rebounds.
“This guy next to me played a heck of a basketball game and really scored the ball,” Navy head coach Ed DeChellis said. “You’ve seen a bunch of these games and somebody usually steps up and does something. Tonight it was John Carter who had a huge night shooting the basketball.”
Senior forward George Kiernan totaled 13 points, eight rebounds and four assists for Navy, which closed the contest with a 21-12 run over the last 7½ minutes. Junior forward Evan Wieck posted his third double-double of the season with 11 points and 11 rebounds for the Midshipmen, who avenged a 72-61 loss to the Black Knights on Jan. 19.
Senior point guard Hasan Abdullah added 11 points and seven assists for Navy (9-16, 6-8), which snapped a two-game losing streak and temporarily moved into sole possession of seventh place in the 10-team Patriot League.
“You’re expecting your two seniors in their last N Star game to step up and get something done. I thought both George and Hasan were very good tonight,” DeChellis said. “We were counting on those two seniors. We needed someone else to help us and it was John.”
Navy came in ranked ninth in the Patriot League in scoring offense with an average of 67 points and last in field goal shooting at 41 percent. The Midshipmen shot 55 percent (27-49) for the game and had their second-highest scoring game against a Patriot League opponent.
“I thought we shared the basketball really well. We had 20 assists on 27 baskets, which is really good for us. Offensively, we executed fairly well,” DeChellis said.
Junior guard Tommy Funk scored 20 points and dished off seven assists to lead Army (12-15, 7-7), which has lost five of its last six. Sophomore guard Lonnie Grayson came off the bench to score 13 points for the Black Knights, who made just 27 of 72 field goals (37 percent).
“Credit to Navy, I thought they executed better than we did in a lot of areas,” Army head coach Jimmy Allen said. “We didn’t do the job defensively the way we have been. I thought Navy took advantage of us today, took advantage of some matchups and finished around the rim really well.”
DeChellis was pleased with Navy’s team defense, which harassed Army into 8-for-30 shooting from 3-point range.
“We really wanted to put pressure on the ball. We didn’t want to give them open threes,” DeChellis said. “I thought we did that pretty well and our defense in the half-court was pretty good. I felt if we could take their transition away and get them to play in the half-court we could guard them.”
During an on-court ceremony afterward, Navy athletic director Chet Gladchuk presented the Alumni Trophy to DeChellis and senior captain Ryan Pearson. The Midshipmen have now captured the trophy four times in the eight-year tenure of DeChellis.
Navy's John Carter Jr., who led the Midshipmen with 26 points, brings the ball upcourt in the first half against Army in front of a crowd of 5,448.