Feb. 15, 2014
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -
Junior guard Brandon Venturini scored 19 points and had eight assists, four rebounds and two steals to lead the Navy men's basketball team (9-16, 4-10) to a 71-61 win over Colgate (9-16, 3-11) on Saturday evening at Alumni Hall. Navy led wire-to-wire and shot a season-best 54 percent from the floor (25-of-46).
"It was a great team win," head coach Ed DeChellis said. "I'm really proud of our kids. We didn't play well at Bucknell (on Wednesday). This was a team (Colgate) that we played very poorly against at their home court. It was very important to play better here tonight and the kids responded to the challenge."
Navy made its first six three pointers of the game and was 7-of-9 from beyond the arc in the first half.
Venturini hit a jumper on Navy's first possession and then made a three pointer as Navy took an early 5-0 lead. Junior forward Worth Smith scored a layup and then freshman Tim Abruzzo connected on a three as Navy went up 10-4. Colgate started to find its way offensively, but Venturini, Abruzzo and then freshman Michael Brown sunk three pointers to push the lead to 18-12.
Will Kelly scored inside and then freshman Zach Fong and Brown hit back-to-back three pointers as Navy went up by nine with a 26-17 lead. Abruzzo and senior James Loupos keyed another Navy spurt late in the first half, but Colgate's Austin Tillotson hit two three pointers in the final 44 seconds, with the second being at the halftime buzzer, as Navy's halftime lead shrunk to 35-30.
Smith carried Navy early in the second half, scoring six of the team's first eight points as Navy increased its lead to 11. A 7-0 run brought Colgate within four, but Venturini scored a layup and then sophomore Will Kelly
scored inside on back-to-back possessions to push the lead back to 10.
Navy was able to open its biggest lead of the game at 57-45 after a Loupos layup and then back-to-back buckets by Smith, with the second coming at the 4:38 mark.
Colgate never got the deficit within eight for the rest of the game as Navy made 10 free throws down the stretch and Smith got free from Colgate's full-court pressure for two breakaway scores, including one for a thunderous dunk.
Smith aided Venturini on the offensive end by chipping in 16 points. He also had three rebounds and three blocks. Loupos had a season-high eight points and Abruzzo also finished with eight.
Sophomore guard Kendall Knorr pulled down a game-high and career-best nine rebounds and he also had three assists and two steals.
Tillotson scored a game-high 24 points for Colgate and Murphy Burnatowski added 13.
Navy was superb in taking care of the ball on Saturday. The Mids had a season-low six turnovers while also earning assists on 19 of its 25 field goals. Navy also had 20 points off of Colgate's 13 turnovers.
With the win, Navy has doubled its conference win total of two from last season while also surpassing its overall win total of eight from a year ago.
Navy is currently tied with Lafayette (4-10) for eighth place in the conference and sits one game behind seventh-place Loyola (5-9).
The Mids will play at Lehigh (6-8) on Wednesday at 7:00 PM.