Feb. 5, 2014
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -
The Navy men's basketball team (7-15, 2-9 PL) gave Boston University (16-8, 9-2) all it could handle before fading late in a 61-48 loss at Alumni Hall on Wednesday. Navy trailed by five points with three minutes remaining but missed nine of its last 10 shots while BU converted 9-of-10 late free throw attempts to seal the game.
Navy freshman Zach Fong scored a game-high 15 points in a season-high 36 minutes while freshman Tim Abruzzo had 12 points and six rebounds in 27 minutes.
Besides Fong and Abruzzo, Navy had a tough time shooting the ball. As a team, Navy shot just 29.3 percent from the floor (17-of-58) and was 7-of-27 on three pointers (25.9 percent). Fong and Abruzzo were a combined 7-of-14 on three pointers (50.0 percent), but the rest of the team was 0-for-13 from beyond the arc.
"It's really hard winning when you shoot 29 percent," Navy head coach Ed DeChellis said. "As I told the kids, they had great fight out there, they played hard and they competed. But if you tell me that we were going to shoot 29 percent, I'm thinking that we're never in the game. But we are rebounding, we're trying to play some defense and when the shots fall for us we are going to look like a pretty good team. But just right now we can't get anything in the basket."
Navy scored the first bucket of the game on a Kendall Knorr jumper, but then went on a six-minute scoring drought while Boston pulled ahead to a 10-2 lead. After junior Brandon Venturini had a steal and a fast break layup off Navy's press, Fong did the same to cut the lead to 10-6.
Boston then started to catch fire from the outside by making five three pointers on its next eight possessions to race out to a 22-8 lead. Navy responded with a 9-0 run of its own while closing the half on a 12-4 spurt for a six-point halftime deficit at 26-20.
During Navy's late first-half run, Abruzzo hit two three pointers and senior James Loupos chipped in with four points.
Boston was able to push its second-half lead to as much as 14 (42-28) with 10:50 remaining after a dunk by Nathan Dieudonne, but Navy responded with a critical 14-5 run over the next five minutes.
Abruzzo and Fong both hit three pointers during the stretch and Fong, junior Worth Smith and James Hemphill converted six consecutive free throws. Smith capped the run with a layup before Boston's D.J. Irving hit a three pointer. Fong responded with a three of his own to pull within five at 50-45, but that's when Navy sputtered down the stretch, with Fong's three pointer with 26 seconds left being Navy's only basket in the final 3:34.
"We had some big shots that were kind of open in the last three or four minutes that we needed to make," said DeChellis. "Just to get it to five or to three and put that pressure on them. But we could never make that shot."
Abruzzo was 4-of-6 on three pointers and his 12 points and 27 minutes eclipsed his previous season-high totals of three points and eight minutes. Abruzzo and Fong combined for 27 of Navy's 34 bench points, its most against a Division I opponent this season.
Irving led Boston with 12 points and John Papale added 10. Malik Thomas grabbed 10 boards while Dieudonne collected nine points and nine rebounds. Maurice Watson Jr. tallied nine points, eight assists, four rebounds and two steals.
Navy suffered its sixth straight loss and is tied for eighth place in the Patriot League at 2-9 with Colgate and Lafayette.
Navy will next play at Army on Saturday in the annual Army-Navy Star Game. The game will begin at 4:00 p.m. and will be televised by the CBS Sports Network.