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Pair of Lafayette Runs Doom Navy Men's Basketball in League Opener

Brandon Venturini scored 23 points on 7 three-pointers in Navy's loss to Lafayette.

Brandon Venturini scored 23 points on 7 three-pointers in Navy's loss to Lafayette.

Jan. 12, 2013

Final Stats |  AP Photos 

EASTON, Pa. -- Lafayette used a pair of big runs in each half to hand the Navy men's basketball team a 64-47 setback in the Patriot League opener on Saturday afternoon at the Kirby Sports Center.

The loss drops Navy to 6-11 overall and 0-1 in league play, while Lafayette improves to 8-10 overall and 1-0 in league play.

In the first half, the Midshipmen led 14-8 with 11:32 to play before halftime when the Leopards went on a 17-4 run over the remainder of the half to grab a 25-18 halftime lead.

Then in the second half after Navy used a 10-0 run of its own to cut a 32-20 lead to 32-30 with 15:44 to play, Lafayette countered with a 22-3 spurt to grab a 54-33 advantage with 7:42 left.

"Every time we made a run at them, they would make a big play or a big basket. We just turned the ball over way too much and made silly mistakes at the defensive end to win the game," said Navy head coach Ed DeChellis. "We played like a very young basketball team playing in our first conference game. Their point guard, Johnson, was outstanding for them tonight. He made plays for other players."

Johnson scored 14 points with six assists against no turnovers in 27 minutes.

"He's a senior. He is a good point guard and gets other guys the ball in scoring areas," said DeChellis. "Point guards that are seniors make other guys better. That is what they do and what they are expected to do."

Navy trailed 25-18 at the break and Lafayette quickly pushed the lead to 12 points at 32-20 with 17:25 to play when Brandon Venturini (So. / Allendale, Mich.) gave the Midshipmen hope for a comeback.

Venturini buried back-to-back three-pointers, Worth Smith (So. / Mooresville, N.C.) added a fast-break dunk and Kendall Knorr (Fr. / Concord, N.C.) scored on a lay-up in a one-minute, 26-second span to trim the margin to two at 32-30 with 15:44 left.

Navy actually got another defensive stop, but couldn't convert on the other end when the Leopards went on a quick 8-0 run over a minute, nine-second span to push the lead back to 40-30. A Tilman Dunbar (Fr. / Woodbridge, Va.) lay-up halted the run, but the Leopards then scored 14 of the next 15 points for their largest lead of the game at 54-33 with 7:42 to play.

Venturini tried to lead a Navy comeback, burying a trio of three-pointers down the stretch, the last one getting Navy within 12 at 57-45 with 2:40 to play, but the Leopards responded with one last run, a 7-0 spurt to squash any chance of a Navy comeback and settling in for a 64-47 decision.

Navy jumped out to a 10-4 lead at the first media timeout by making four of its first seven field goal attempts, but the Midshipmen went just 4-of-16 in the last 15-plus minutes of the first half to trail by seven at halftime. Navy also hurt itself with 10 first-half turnovers, which resulted in seven Lafayette points.

Navy shot just 18-of-48 (.375) from the field, 7-of-23 (.304) from three-point range and 4-of-10 (.400) from the free throw line. The Midshipmen were outrebounded, 30-28, and had 14 turnovers for the contest.

Venturini went 8-of-17 from the field and 7-of-15 from three-point range, the seventh-most three-pointers in a game in school history, while tying for the most attempts. Aside from Venturini, the Midshipmen went 10-of-31 (.323) from the field and 0-of-8 (.000) from long distance.

Venturini is now tied for the Patriot League lead in three-pointers made with 44.

"We need to have our guys that can score, score for us. When they don't score, it's going to be a long night. That is the bottom line. We can't have one player have a good night on offense and expect to win games," said DeChellis.

Dunbar added nine points, six assists and three rebounds while Smith paced the squad with six rebounds, all coming in the first half. Navy had just two players score more than five points (Venturini and Dunbar).

Lafayette was 24-of-50 (.480) from the field, 7-of-16 (.438) from long distance and 9-of-13 (.692) from the free throw line. The Leopards were guilty of 10 turnovers. The Leopards' starters scored 62 of their 64 points.

Sophomore Seth Hinrichs led Lafayette with 22 points and nine rebounds. Ptasinski and Johnson each scored 14 points. The trio combined for 50 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists (vs. four turnovers) and went 20-of-33 (.606) from the field and 5-of-10 (.500) from three-point range.

Navy returns home for the first time in 19 days when it hosts Holy Cross in Navy's Patriot League home opener on Wednesday, Jan. 16, at 7:00 PM in Alumni Hall.

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