Jan. 30, 2013
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- Navy shot just 28.8 percent from the field and the Lehigh men's basketball team slowly pulled away in the second half to hand the Midshipmen a 71-49 setback in front of a season-high 2,559 fans in Alumni Hall on Wednesday night.
The loss was Navy's third in a row and drops Navy to 7-15 overall and 1-5 in Patriot League play. Lehigh remained atop the Patriot League standings (tied with Bucknell) with a 15-5 overall record and a 5-1 league mark.
Navy made just 19-of-66 shots from the field and went just 3-of-23 from three-point range. After jumping out to an 8-1 lead by making four of their first seven shots, the Midshipmen made just 15 of their last 59 shots for the contest.
"The last three games we have really struggled on both ends. We just have a problem grabbing loose balls and those miscues lead to points. When you can't do the basics like grab loose balls and grab rebounds and make open shots, you aren't going to win games," said Navy head coach Ed DeChellis. "You just have to make open shots. You can't shoot 28 percent and expect to win games. We dig ourselves a hole and then lack confidence to make a run in the second half. We just haven't been through it a lot. We are going to keep fighting and keep working. That is all there is to do."
The Mids, which were playing without two starters in Kendall Knorr (Fr. / Concord, N.C.) and Jared Smoot (So. / Crown Point, Ind.) as well as key reserve Jerome Alexander (Fr. / Radford, Va.), bolted out to an 8-1 cushion just four minutes into the game, but the Mountain Hawks responded with a 14-0 spurt to grab a 15-8 lead with 8:13 to play. Navy crawled to within 18-16 on a Phil Guglielmo (Fr. / Springfield, Va.) three-pointer with 2:57 to play, but Lehigh ended the half on a 10-2 spurt for a 28-18 halftime lead.
Navy would get to within eight at 35-27 with 16:35 to play on a Tilman Dunbar
(Fr. / Woodbridge, Va.) three-point play but Lehigh would counter with another 11-0 run for a 46-27 lead with 12:34 to play. Navy would get no closer than 17 the remainder of the way as Lehigh coasted in for a 71-49 decision.
The Midshipmen were 19-of-66 (.288) from the field, 3-of-23 (.130) from three-point range and 8-of-14 (.571) from the free throw line. Navy was guilty of a season-low eight turnovers and grabbed a season-best 19 offensive rebounds. However, Navy turned those 19 offensive rebounds into just nine second-chance points.
Lehigh went 25-of-54 (.463) from the field, 9-of-27 (.333) from three-point range and 12-of-17 (.706) from the free throw line. The Mountain Hawks outrebounded Navy, 45-37, but had 14 turnovers. Lehigh turned its 13 offensive rebounds into 18 second-chance points.
The loss offset a big game by freshman Will Kelly (Mount Laurel, N.J.). Earning just his third career start, Kelly recorded his first career double-double setting career highs in points (11), rebounds (10) and assists (3) while committing zero turnovers in 27 minutes. Kelly went 5-of-8 from the field and 1-of-2 from the free throw line.
All three double-doubles done by a Navy player this year have come by freshmen (two by Dunbar, one by Kelly).
"Coach really challenged me this morning and has been on me to become aggressive. I guess I just stopped thinking and started playing and wanted to help the team any way I could," said Kelly.
Worth Smith (So. / Mooresville, N.C.) added 11 points, six assists and two blocked shots while Guglielmo tallied 10 points and two rebounds, shooting 3-of-6 from the field and 2-of-4 from three-point range in 19 minutes off the bench.
Stefan Cvrkalj scored 18 points on 5-of-9 three-pointers off the bench to pace Lehigh.
Navy closes out the first half of league play at co-leader Bucknell on Saturday, beginning at 7:00 PM in Lewisburg, Pa.
# GO NAVY #