Long Second-Half Drought Dooms Midshipmen
Feb. 22, 2012
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- The Lehigh men's basketball team ended the game on a 21-7 run over the final 13 minutes to hand the Midshipmen a 58-41 setback in front of 2,801 fans on Senior Night at Alumni Hall.
The loss drops Navy to 3-24 overall and 0-13 in the Patriot League standings while Lehigh moved to 22-7 overall and within a half-game of idle Bucknell in the Patriot League race with a 10-3 league mark.
As has been the case all season long for the Navy squad, a long second-half scoreless drought did in the Midshipmen. Navy trailed 37-34 with 13:02 on an Isaiah Roberts (So. / Pennsauken, N.J.) lay-up and had three chances to cut into the lead even further, but came up empty all three times. Following Roberts' lay-up, Navy went scoreless for eight minutes and 38 seconds as Lehigh used a 10-0 run over that span to take 47-34 lead with 6:05 to play on a three-pointer by B.J. Bailey.
Navy halted the run on a Worth Smith (Fr. / Mooresville, N.C.) lay-up with 4:24 to play, but Navy would get no closer than 12 the rest of the way and Lehigh held Navy without a field goal over the last four minutes for the 58-41 decision.
Navy's 41 points were a season low and it marked the sixth time this year Navy has been held to 49 or fewer points. Navy's bench scored zero points in 71 minutes, while going 0-of-9 from the field with six turnovers.
"I thought our starters were pretty solid tonight, especially our three seniors. We just didn't get anything off the bench tonight, and then we went nine minutes in the second half without a point. You can't win games like that," said Navy head coach Ed DeChellis. "We held a good team like Lehigh to 58 points, I thought we had a pretty good chance. They are averaging in the mid-70s. Obviously, we didn't have any offense again tonight. Somewhere along the way you have to make a shot. We didn't get any easy baskets."
Navy started fast owning a 16-14 lead with 10:56 to play on a Jordan Sugars (Sr. / Winchester, Va.) lay-up, but Navy then went scoreless for the next five minutes and 46 seconds as Lehigh took a 22-16 advantage with a 6:07 to play. Despite the three seniors, Sugars, Ted Connolly (Sr. / Wexford, Pa.) and Carlton Smith (Sr. / Rochester, N.Y.) scoring the team's first 19 points, Navy trailed 30-22 at halftime.
Smith earned his first career start against the Mountain Hawks, while Connolly connected on his first career three-pointer in the first half.
"Carlton, Jordan and Ted played well, but we just couldn't get anything else. Our bench gave us zero points in 71 minutes. That is what is disappointing. We have said for two days that we have to send these seniors out on a high note and play as hard as we can and execute. We just didn't do that tonight," said DeChellis. "The starters came out with a lot of intensity and effort and we tried to emphasize that to the other guys. I didn't think our guys off the bench came out with that."
Navy shot just 14-of-41 (.341) from the field, including 6-of-22 (.273) from the field in the second half. The Mids were 4-of-13 (.308) from three-point range, but 0-of-5 (.000) in the second half. Navy was 9-of-14 (.643) from the free throw line, had 16 turnovers and outrebounded the Mountain Hawks, 31-29.
Lehigh shot 21-of-51 (.412) from the field, 9-of-21 (.429) from three and 7-of-8 (.875) from the free throw line. Lehigh was guilty of nine turnovers, ironically coming on nine Navy steals. Lehigh had zero turnovers that didn't result in a Navy steal.
Sugars led Navy with 13 points, all coming in the first half, on 5-of-11 shooting and 3-of-6 from behind the three-point line. Carlton Smith added career highs of 12 points and eight rebounds in 29 minutes. Five of his eight rebounds were on the offensive end.
"Carlton played well and took advantage of his chance. He has paid his dues and it was nice to see him play as well as he did," said DeChellis.
C.J. McCollum led Lehigh with 24 points on 9-of-18 shooting.
Navy's crowd of 2,801 allowed the Midshipmen to set an Alumni Hall average attendance record by drawing 2,453 fans per game in 13 home outings. In the seven Patriot League games, Navy averaged 3,101 fans, also a school record.
Navy closes out the regular season at Patriot League leader Bucknell on Saturday in Lewisburg, Pa., beginning at 4:00 pm.
# GO NAVY #