ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- The Navy men's basketball went on a 19-0 run over the last 3:43 of the first half and cruised in for a 75-48 victory over Marymount on Friday night at Alumni Hall.
The win moved Navy to 1-0 on the season in the season opener for both teams.
Navy led just 26-24 with 3:56 to play, when a trio of freshmen sparked a 19-0 Navy run as the Midshipmen went into halftime with a 45-24 advantage and Navy never looked back after that.
"I thought we were tight the first 15 minutes or so and were our own worst enemy. We turned the ball over with fouls and just couldn`t get into a flow. We played with more poise and made more plays in the last five minutes of the first half and in the second half. We weren't shooting ourselves in the foot and we were able to make shots and make plays," said Navy head coach Ed DeChellis.
Navy led the whole game, grabbing a 16-8 lead on a Brandon Venturini (So. / Allendale, Mich.) layup with 13:40 to play. But Marymount chipped away, cutting the Navy lead to two points three different times, the last instance coming at 26-24 with 3:56 to play.
However, Navy answered with a 19-0 run fueled by freshmen. Guards Tilman Dunbar (Fr. / Fairfax, Va.) and Kendall Knorr (Fr. / Concord, N.C.) and forward Jerome Alexander (Fr. / Radford, Va.) scored 14 of Navy's 19 points during the run, including a pair of three-pointers by Knorr in the final 45 seconds, the last one coming with one second on the clock to push the halftime margin to 45-24.
The Midshipmen increased the lead to 32 at 65-33 on Knorr's third three-pointer of the game with 10:57 left and the lead never dipped below 25 after that as Navy breezed home for the 27-point victory.
"With such a young basketball team, I thought we really kept our composure in the second half and they were still doing the things we asked them to do," said DeChellis. "I thought Brandon and Kendall really shot the ball well, and Tilman really did a nice job pushing the ball and getting guys the open shot.
"It was very important for us to taste some success. We have a very good team coming in on Sunday in Siena, so I think to taste some success was important for us to gain some confidence with such a young team," added DeChellis.
"We came out with good energy and the run late in the first half all started with our defense. Jerome (Alexander) took a big charge and that really lifted us and we kept the energy up. We kept it going in the second half," said Venturini. "We knew we had to play harder than them and we have to continue that into Sunday. It was a good start for us. We need to keep believing in each other and playing as a team and see what we can do."
"Everyone came in and contributed tonight and that is what we are going to have to do this year," said Dunbar. "It's a good feeling to get a win in the first game and start the season right. We know we have to play better than we did last year. Even after last week, we saw what happens when we don't come to play every night, so we just need to play harder than our opponent every night."
Navy shot 27-of-58 (.466) from the field, 8-of-17 (.471) from three-point range and 13-of-16 (.813) from the free throw line, while outrebounding the Saints, 42-27, and committing 15 turnovers.
Marymount shot just 18-of-54 (.333) from the field, 3-of-11 (.273) from three-point range and 9-of-12 (.750) from the free throw line. The Saints were guilty of 17 turnovers.
Venturini led the Midshipmen with a career-high 16 points and a career-best four assists against no turnovers. He went 5-of-13 from the field and 4-of-7 from three-point range.
Knorr tallied 13 points and two rebounds in just 19 minutes on 3-of-6 shooting (all from three-point range) and 4-of-4 from the free throw line. Worth Smith (So. / Mooresville, N.C.) added 10 points, eight rebounds and three steals in just 24 minutes.
Antonio Rouse led Marymount with nine points.
Navy will host Siena on Sunday at 2:00 PM at Alumni Hall. The game will only be available on Navy All-Access on NavySports.com, due to contractual obligations with the Baltimore Ravens.