Jan. 2, 2013
FORT WAYNE, Ind. -- IPFW used a late 10-0 run and made several timely shots down the stretch to hand the Navy men's basketball team a 68-63 setback on Wednesday night at the Gates Sports Center.
The loss was Navy's third in a row and drops the Midshipmen to 6-9 overall. IPFW improves to 7-9 on the season.
Navy took a 54-50 lead with a 9-0 spurt with 7:10 to play, but the Mastodons regained the lead with a 10-0 run to take a 60-54 advantage with 4:34 to play. Navy crawled to within 60-58 on Brandon Venturini's (So. / Allendale, Mich.) fifth three-pointer of the night with 2:06 to play, but IPFW made all four of its free throw attempts in the final 31 seconds for the five-point victory.
"We didn't do everything perfectly this evening, but we still had a chance to win the game tonight and that is what is disappointing," said Navy head coach Ed DeChellis. "We didn't make the basketball plays that we needed to make. We had alligator arms tonight and just couldn't grab the loose balls when it was right there in front of us. They made some big shots and that was the game."
The game was tied at halftime, 32-32, but IPFW started the second half on an 8-2 run to grab a 40-34 advantage with 16:31 to play. The Mastodons would still lead 50-45 when Venturini buried a pair of three-pointers sandwiched around a Thurgood Wynn (Jr. / Bethesda, Md.) trifecta to give the Midshipmen a 54-50 advantage.
But Navy would score just one point on its next six possessions (0-of-4 FGs, 1 turnover) as IPFW would connect on a three-pointer off an offensive rebound, another three off a turnover and a dunk off a loose ball scramble to cap off its 10-0 run for a six-point lead at 60-54.
Navy opened the game with a 7-1 advantage, but IPFW would slowly chip away at the Navy lead, eventually tying the game at 22 with 7:26 to play in the opening half. There would be two lead changes and two ties in the final seven minutes of the first half, the last one coming on a pair of Kevin Alter (So. / Rumson, N.J.) free throws with 0.5 seconds left to tie the game at 32-32.
As a team, Navy shot 23-of-47 (.489) from the field, 10-of-19 (.526) from three-point range and 7-of-9 (.778) from the free throw line. Navy outrebounded the Mastodons, 26-25, but was guilty of 15 turnovers, including eight in the crucial second half.
Navy had just 17 turnovers in its previous two games combined.
IPFW shot 24-of-48 (.500) from the field, 8-of-21 (.381) from three-point range and 12-of-16 (.750) from the free throw line. IPFW was guilty of 10 turnovers.
Venturini and Worth Smith (So. / Mooresville, N.C.) each scored a career-high 17 points. Venturini was 6-of-13 from the field and 5-of-8 from three-point range in 34 minutes. Smith was 7-of-12 from the field and led Navy with six rebounds, playing 26 minutes. He missed all but six minutes of the first half with foul troubles.
"I just wish Worth could stay on the floor. He played well, but he can't pick up two silly fouls in the first half and miss 15 minutes. It's all about discipline and not getting in trouble defensively," said DeChellis. "We need to have him on the floor."
Kendall Knorr (Fr. / Concord, N.C.) scored eight points, all in the first half, while grabbing four rebounds. Jared Smoot (So. / Crown Point, Ind.) added seven points and three rebounds in 15 minutes in his return to his home state, playing in front of about 30 family members and friends.
Luis Jacobo led IPFW with 22 points, making 5-of-9 three-point tries. Frank Gaines added 17 and Joe Edwards chipped in with 15 points. The Mastodons' three main wing players, Jacobo, Gaines and Edwards, combined for 54 of IPFW's 68 points.
"Their athleticism on the wings bothered us and we didn't contain it. It's a lack of discipline and toughness. I know we are young and haven't been in these situations a whole lot, but we won't use that as an excuse. We have to learn and get better at it," said DeChellis.
Navy closes out its non-conference schedule on Saturday, Jan. 5, when it heads to Norfolk, Va., for a 5:00 PM contest against 2012 NCAA Tournament third-round participant Norfolk State.
# GO NAVY #