Nov. 11, 2011
Final Stats |
FARMVILLE, Va. -- Jordan Sugars scored 21 points to lead five players in double figures and the Midshipmen shot 54.0 percent to give Navy men's basketball coach Ed DeChellis a 78-70 victory over Longwood in his Navy coaching debut.
The victory was Navy's first in a season opener since defeating Longwood, 88-72, to tip off the 2007-08 season. Navy had lost three straight season openers by an average of 20.0 points.
"I'm really excited for the kids. We didn't play particularly well, but we executed down the stretch and made some big plays and big shots," said first-year head coach Ed DeChellis. "We hung in there with a lot of young guys playing in their first game. The second wave, as we call them, came in off the bench and did a nice job. Everyone really came in and contributed. Now we just need to get better and clean some things up."
The game was a see-saw affair that featured eight ties and 22 lead changes. Navy led 60-52 on a Sugars three-pointer with 9:10 left, but Longwood's Tristan Carey led the Lancers on a 10-1 run over a two-minute, 21-second span to take its last lead of the game at 62-61 with 6:49 to play.
But the Mids stayed resilient, using their own 13-1 run over a six-minute, 15-second span to take their largest lead of the game at 74-63. With Navy up five at 68-63, sophomore James Loupos (Skillman, N.J.) buried a three-pointer to push the Navy lead to eight with 1:54 to play in the contest.
During the run, Loupos also took a defensive charge with 4:49 to play in a tie game at 63-63. Sugars would bury a pair of free throws on Navy's next offensive possession and Navy would not relinquish the lead again.
Navy sophomore Brennan Wyatt (Greensboro, N.C.) would ice out the game for the Midshipmen by making 7-of-8 free throws in the final 1:33 of the game for the 78-70 victory.
"James did a nice job. He knocked down the three when that is not really his game. He was open and felt it and buried it," said DeChellis. "I thought he did a really nice job tonight. That is what we are trying to get the guys to do. We want them to make solid basketball plays and not beat ourselves. We got a little better at that coming down the stretch tonight."
The first half featured 14 lead changes as Navy would lead at the break, 38-37. Navy led 18-13 with 10:50 to play, but Longwood went on a 9-1 run to take a 22-19 advantage with 7:45 to play before halftime. Navy would grab the halftime lead at 38-37 on an Isaiah Roberts (So. / Pennsauken, N.J.) lay-up with just four seconds left before the break after Longwood had a chance to take the final shot.
Navy shot 59.3 percent (16-of-27) from the field in the opening 20 minutes.
The Midshipmen shot 54.0 percent (27-of-50) from the field, 40.0 percent (6-of-15) from three-point range and 64.3 percent (18-of-28) from the free throw line. The Mids outrebounded the Lancers, 40-33, but were guilty of 14 turnovers while forcing just eight Longwood miscues. However, just four of Navy's turnovers came in the final 20 minutes of the game.
Longwood, meanwhile, shot 41.0 percent (25-of-61) from the field, 23.8 percent (5-of-21) from three-point range and 62.5 percent (15-of-24) from the free throw line.
Sugars paced Navy with 21 points, including 15 in the second half. He finished the game 6-of-11 from the field, 3-of-5 from three-point range and 6-of-7 from the free throw line. He added eight rebounds and four assists in a fine all-around effort.
"I was trying to be as aggressive as I could against an aggressive team," said Sugars. "We have been working on getting good shots and being patient on offense since practice started. Once we get our offense going, there is going to be a lot of opportunities to get open shots.
"We have one of the best coaching staffs in America, in my opinion. They have been where we are trying to go and know that they are doing. We are trying to absorb everything they are giving us and we are going to keep on learning and working hard for them," said Sugars. "It's great to come out and win the opener on the road. We have to turn around and get ready for Sunday."
A trio of sophomores, J.J. Avila (McAllen, Texas), Loupos and Roberts, all scored 11 points while classmate Wyatt added 10. Avila had a fantastic floor game with 11 points, nine rebounds and six assists, while Roberts added three assists, Loupos had two rebounds and Wyatt totaled three rebounds, three steals and two assists off the bench. Freshman Worth Smith (Charlotte, N.C.) scored two points, but had five big rebounds in his first career action.
Navy's bench scored 24 points, while the sophomore class tallied 49 of Navy's 78 points.
Tristan Carey led Longwood with 17 points, while Jeremiah Bowman and Antwan Carter had 13 each. Carter torched the Mids for 28 points and 11 rebounds last winter, but was just 4-of-6 from the field and was never really a factor tonight.
Navy hosts Penn State Altoona in its home opener on Sunday at 4:00 pm at Alumni Hall. Tickets are available at the Alumni Hall box office prior to the game. The game will be streamed online as part of Navy All-Access and radio is not available on Sunday.
# GO NAVY #