Feb. 12, 2013
WORCESTER, Mass. -- Holy Cross surged to a 15-point halftime lead, then withstood every Navy charge in the second half to defeat the Navy men's basketball team, 66-57, in front of 803 fans at the Hart Center on Tuesday night.
The loss drops Navy to 7-18 overall and 1-8 in league play, while Holy Cross improved to 11-13 and 3-6.
It was a tale of two halves as the Crusaders shot 56.0 percent in the opening half to take a 43-28 halftime advantage. The Midshipmen made their adjustments and held Holy Cross to just six second-half field goals and 25.0 percent shooting, but the Crusaders were able to hold off Navy by making four free throws in the final 35 seconds for the victory.
"We were really disappointed in our effort in the first half. When you aren't a very good shooting team, you have to really dig deep on the defensive end. We did that in the second half, and not in the first half and it was too much to overcome," said Navy head coach Ed DeChellis. "The second half was better and I was pleased with our defense. We just need to put it together for 40 minutes."
Holy Cross started the game red-hot by making six of its first eight shot attempts to grab a 17-8 advantage with 13:27 left in the opening half. The Crusaders would take a pair of 18-point leads, the last coming at 37-19 with 5:19 to play, before Navy was able to cut the lead to 43-28 at the break.
The Midshipmen came out red hot in the second half, opening the half on a 12-1 run on a pair of Worth Smith (So. / Mooresville, N.C.) jumpers and Brandon Venturini (So. / Allendale, Mich.) three-pointers to trim the Holy Cross lead to 44-40 with 15:05 to play.
After Holy Cross scored five straight points, the Midshipmen answered with five of their own on another Venturini triple and two Smith free throws with 12:56 left.
However, Holy Cross countered with an 8-0 run to push the margin back to 57-45 with 10:17 to play.
Again, Navy didn't fold and eventually got back to within five at 62-57 with 1:58 left on a Will Kelly (Fr. / Mount Laurel, N.J.) jumphook. The Mids would then get a defensive stop, but a Venturini three-point attempt with 1:06 to play was just long. Navy retained possession with a Smith offensive rebound, but Smith missed a three-pointer with 41 seconds left and the Mids were forced to foul. Holy Cross made all four free throws down the stretch to hold on for the 66-57 decision.
Navy went 0-of-5 from the field, all three-point tries, in the final 1:06 of the contest.
Navy outscored Holy Cross, 29-23, in the second half and shot 40.7 percent compared to Holy Cross' 25.0 percent. The Crusaders made just one field goal in the last 10 minutes of the contest.
For the game, Navy shot 21-of-55 (.382) from the field, 7-of-23 (.304) from three-point range and 8-of-12 (.667) from the free throw line. Navy recorded 13 assists against nine turnovers, giving Navy just 36 turnovers combined in the last four games.
Holy Cross was 20-of-49 (.408) from the field, 7-of-22 (.318) from three-point range and 19-of-25 (.760) from the free throw line. The Crusaders outrebounded the Mids by just two boards, 34-32, and had nine turnovers as well.
Smith led the Mids with a career-high 19 points, eight rebounds, one assist, one blocked shot and one steal. Venturini added 14 points and three rebounds, while freshman Tilman Dunbar (Woodbridge, Va.) tallied seven points, seven assists and three rebounds in 31 minutes. Kelly scored seven points with six rebounds, an assist, a block and a steal.
"Will (Kelly) is really improving and gaining some confidence and that is nice to see. I thought he really battled. We were trying to force-feed Worth (Smith) some more tonight and we are trying to get him involved and be more aggressive. We are trying to do more of that. He had 15 shots and seven free throws and that is what we are looking for out of him," said DeChellis.
Dunbar now has 17 assists against two turnovers in the last three games and in Patriot League play, has recorded 45 assists against 20 turnovers. The seven assists tonight were the sixth most by a freshman in school history against a Patriot League foe.
Freshmen and sophomores accounted for all of Navy's 57 points.
Justin Burrell had 14 points and five assists to lead Holy Cross, but scored just four points with no assists in the second half. Dave Dudzinski added 13 points and eight rebounds.
Navy returns home on Saturday to face Army in the Star Game, beginning at 2:00 PM (ET) and will be televised by the CBS Sports Network. The game is sold out.
# GO NAVY #