Feb. 4, 2012
EASTON, Pa. -- The Navy men's basketball team made just 4-of-16 second-half shots and Lafayette outscored the Midshipmen, 29-17, in the second half to ease to a 62-41 decision over the Midshipmen on Saturday afternoon at the Kirby Sports Center.
The loss drops Navy to 3-19 overall and 0-8 in the Patriot League. Lafayette improved to 10-13 overall and 5-3 in the league standings.
Navy trailed just 33-24 at halftime and got within 33-28 on its first two possessions of the second half, but then went scoreless for the next six-and-a-half minutes as Lafayette turned a five-point cushion into a 17-point lead on the strength of a 12-0 run to take a 45-28 lead.
Navy scored the next five points to trim the margin to 45-33 with 12:01 to play on a Brandon Venturini (Fr. / Allendale, Mich.) three-pointer, but Lafayette scored the next 10 points to take its largest lead of the game at 55-33 with 5:44 left.
Navy would end the game making just one field goal in the last 12 minutes and finished the second half just 4-of-16 (.250) from the field.
Navy also plagued itself with 20 turnovers, 12 of which came in the first half. Lafayette turned the 20 turnovers into 26 points.
"We just turned the ball over entirely too many times this afternoon. We thought to win the game, we had to keep the game in the 50s, low 60s and we did that, but unfortunately, we didn't take care of the basketball and that led to our demise," said Navy head coach Ed DeChellis.
Navy also was playing the game without sophomore J.J. Avila (McAllen, Texas), who leads the team in points, rebounds and assists. Avila was suspended indefinitely earlier this week by the Naval Academy for a violation of Academy rules.
Avila was averaging 17 points, eight rebounds and three assists in Patriot League play at the time of his suspension.
"When you lose a player of J.J.'s status and scoring ability, you are taking at least 18 points out of the lineup. It was imperative that we play slow and limit possessions. But we have to take care of the ball to play that way. It wasn't so much our defense tonight, but our offense enabled them to get some easy baskets," added DeChellis.
Navy led 10-9 early on, but the Leopards countered with a 16-5 run over eight-plus minutes for a 25-15 lead with 3:39 left. The two teams played even the rest of the half as Lafayette led 33-24 at halftime.
Navy shot just 14-of-38 (.368) from the field, 3-of-11 (.273) from three-point range and 10-of-18 (.556) from the free throw line. The Mids had just five assists against 20 turnovers and outrebounded Lafayette, 30-25.
Lafayette shot 24-of-49 (.490) from the field, 9-of-22 (.409) from three-point range and were just 5-of-6 (.833) from the free throw line. Lafayette was guilty of 13 turnovers.
Isaiah Roberts (So. / Pennsauken, N.J.) led Navy in points (7), rebounds (5) and assists (2). Venturini had six points on a pair of three-pointers. No other player scored more than four points for the Midshipmen, which got just 16 points from its starters, 25 from its bench personnel.
Nick Petkovich led Lafayette with 11 points off the bench.
Navy will host Holy Cross on Wednesday night at Alumni Hall in Annapolis, tipping off at 7:00 pm. For ticket information, call 1-800-US4-NAVY or visit the Alumni Hall box office one hour prior to tip off on Saturday night.
# GO NAVY #