Late Miscues Costly in Navy's 67-65 Loss to Loyola
March 1, 2014
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - The Navy men's basketball team (9-20, 4-14 PL) came up short to Loyola (11-18, 6-12), 67-65, on Saturday afternoon at Alumni Hall. Navy will be the No. 10 seed for the Patriot League Tournament and will play at No. 7 Colgate (12-17, 6-12 PL) on Monday at 7:00 PM in the first round. The winner of the Navy-Colgate game will play at No. 2 American in the quarterfinals on Wednesday.
Navy led by as many as nine points, but Loyola took advantage of several Navy miscues to pull out the two-point victory.
"It was a very frustrating game," said head coach Ed DeChellis. "We played pretty well and then couldn't make a play, or made foolish plays at the end of the game that really cost us. We've got to teach our guys how to make winning plays. There were other cases in the game that you could point to, but when it's a possession game like it was, you make a mistake and it can really cost you."
A 3-pointer by Eric Laster put Loyola up 63-60, but Navy's Brandon Venturini countered with a 3-pointer on the next possession to tie the game at 63-63. Loyola went ahead on a free throw by R.J. Williams and the Mids still trailed by one with under a minute to play.
Navy let the shot clock tick all the way down, but then turned the ball over with 48 seconds left in the game. On the other end, Loyola ran time off the clock and eventually had a baseline inbounds pass with just two seconds left on the shot clock. Loyola's Tyler Hubbard received the inbounds pass and put up a quick shot that was off target, but Earl McLaurin was called for a foul with 13.2 seconds remaining. Hubbard made one free throw to extend the lead to 65-63.
Navy's Worth Smith then tied the game at 65-65 with 4.4 seconds remaining after a crafty drive into the lane. On the ensuring inbounds play under its own basket, Loyola threw the ball away, but Venturini was whistled for a foul on the play and Hubbard made two critical free throws to put Loyola ahead, 67-65. Venturini brought the ball up the court looking for a buzzer-beater but Williams poked the ball away to seal the win for Loyola.
"Overall I thought we played OK," said DeChellis. "Well enough to win? I don't know. But we played well enough to be right in the thing. But we just can't make the plays at the end of the game when we need to."
On a day when seniors James Loupos and Thurgood Wynn were honored in a special pregame Senior Day ceremony, the two classmates made their mark early in the game. Wynn hit a 3-pointer on Navy's first possession and then Loupos took his first of three offensive charges of the day.
The Mids used a 10-2 run keyed by six straight points from junior forward Worth Smith to take an early nine-point lead at 20-11 with 8:39 left in the first half. However, the Mids could not put the Greyhounds away and Loyola tied the game at 30-30 before Navy pulled ahead for a 33-32 halftime lead.
Just like in the first half, Wynn got Navy going in the second by converting an and-one play and then he followed with a layup to put Navy up by four. A pair of 3-pointers by Venturini and an and-one play by sophomore center Will Kelly put Navy up six at 48-42.
Despite a 3-pointer by freshman Tim Abruzzo and four more points from Smith, Loyola tied the game at 56-56 on a 3-pointer by Hubbard. Navy got the lead back with a layup by Smith, but Loyola scored the next four points before two free throws by freshman Zach Fong tied the game at 60-60 and then Navy's late miscues allowed Loyola to pull out the win.
Smith scored a game-high 19 points and had seven rebounds and two steals. Venturini had 15 points on five 3-pointers and added six assists, four rebounds and three steals. Wynn finished with 11 points on Senior Day while Loupos had a balanced game with three points, five rebounds and four assists.
Loyola's Franz Rassman had 15 points and seven rebounds and Laster had 14 points.