Friday’s practice for the Navy men’s basketball team had a different kind of intensity.
A different focus.
A different pace.
All with one goal in mind: Beating Army.
“It’s big time,” said Navy guard Hasan Abdullah. “You can sit here and say it’s just another game or it’s just another game on the schedule, but there’s obviously a different type of mental thing going into it.”
Army-Navy. The rivalry is about to renew.
“It’s Army-Navy. So, whatever sport it is, wherever it’s being played - at Army or if it’s being played here - it’s going to unite not just the schools of Army-Navy but the entire nation,” added Abdullah.
“Army-Navy is just something totally different. It’s on a new level. Everyone is just amped up. Everyone is ready to go,” said Navy guard Bryce Dulin. “Army-Navy, for any sport here, is huge. No matter what sport you’re involved in.”
The Midshipmen host the Black Knights on Sunday. Both teams are 3-2 in the Patriot League standings.
“They’re a very good basketball team. We’re going to have a great challenge on our hands. They’re very athletic. They really can score the ball,” said Navy Head Coach Ed DeChellis.
Navy’s home court has been pretty good to the Mids this season. They’re 7-1 at Alumni Hall. But in this rivalry it has actually been almost three years since Navy beat Army in Annapolis. They’re last home win in the series came in March of 2015 during the Patriot League Tournament. Last year they gave up a 25-point lead with 13 minutes to go in the second half in a loss to the Black Knights.
“That’s definitely in the back of our minds,” said Dulin. “We remember that and it still stings a little bit. You still feel that and you remember what happened last year. We’re just trying to do everything we can and make sure we’re ready to go come Sunday.”
Tipoff Sunday is at 2:30 p.m. It’s the back end of an Army-Navy doubleheader as the women are set to play at Noon.