Nov. 11, 2013
JOHNSTOWN, Pa. -
Junior Worth Smith scored 16 points and had seven rebounds and sophomore Will Kelly tallied 12 points and 10 rebounds but Navy (0-2) came up just short in a 60-57 loss to Saint Francis U (1-1) at the Cambria County War Memorial on Veterans Day.
The Mids led 55-53 late in the game before SFU's Stephon Whyatt tied the game with a layup and then Ronnie Drinnon scored to go up by two. Navy turned the ball over on its next possession on an illegal screen, but Kendall Knorr made a steal and then Tilman Dunbar drove the lane and found Kelly for a layup to even the game at 57-57 with 1:14 left.
Saint Francis' Greg Brown hit a jumper on the next possession and was fouled in the act of shooting. He converted the layup for the three-point play to give SFU a 60-57 lead. Kelly missed a layup on the opposite end and SFU gained possession and called a timeout with 26 seconds remaining.
Right out of the in-bounds play, Smith drew an offensive charge against Saint Francis' Malik Harmon and Navy regained possession trailing by three. Dunbar drove through the lane and attempted a jumper from eight feet out but the shot was off line. SFU's Earl Brown got the rebound and was fouled.
Brown missed both free throws and Kelly got the rebound and Navy pushed ahead with under five seconds. Venturini put up a shot with a foot just over the three-point line that was off target, but the shot was waved off anyway for being after the final buzzer.
"I give credit to Saint Francis," head coach Ed DeChellis said. "They made big plays and made big shots when they needed to. But we can't turn the ball over 17 times. We had some foolish plays just throwing the ball away. I thought we had our chances, but we didn't execute well down the stretch."
Navy had gotten off to a fast start to open the game with Kelly winning the tip and Venturini hitting an 18-foot jumper on Navy's first possession. Venturini then scored on Navy's fourth possession to take a 4-0 lead. Saint Francis used a 7-2 run while Navy suffered through a six-minute scoring drought to take a 9-6 lead but Navy got back into the game with a three-pointer by Kevin Alter
and buckets by Kelly and Smith.
Navy then got down five at 19-14 but went on a quick 6-0 run to regain the lead with five minutes to go in the first half. Venturini started a fast break and then hit Dunbar on the left side for a 10-foot jumper. Two possessions later, Dunbar got on a fast break and finished with a layup of his own. Edward Alade blocked a layup on SFU's next possession and Dunbar led yet another fast break, dishing to a cutting Grant Vermeer who finished from the right side.
Navy and Saint Francis then traded buckets for the rest of the period with Smith scoring Navy's final six points of the first half to head to the locker room tied at 28-28, the ninth tie of the opening 20 minutes.
Smith was 5-of-7 in the first half for 11 points and scored in a variety of ways. Smith hit jumpers from the outside, drove from the top of the key with one dribble, drove baseline and spun back towards the paint to drop a floating shot.
Navy ramped up the defensive pressure to open the second half and was able to get six quick points after a steal by Venturini and a block by Kelly, with Venturini scoring twice on the offensive end.
Navy hit five of its first eight shots to open the second half on a 10-5 run before SFU was force to call a timeout after Navy took a 38-33 lead. Navy would later push the lead to 40-34, its biggest lead of the game, before a 7-0 run by SFU gave the Red Flash the lead at 41-40.
The teams remained close for the next several minutes of the contest, as the game saw 16 ties and 11 lead changes. The game also slowed as both teams were in the bonus with over 10 minutes to go, but Navy took advantage by making five straight free throws at one point to push the lead to 55-53 in the closing minutes before Saint Francis made the late rally.
After being limited due to foul trouble against Towson in Navy's season opener on Friday, Smith had a strong game with 16 points on 6-of-13 shooting and seven rebounds. Smith played a game-high 36 minutes.
Kelly recorded his second career double-double with his career-high 12 points and 10 rebounds. He also blocked three shots.
Venturini tallied 11 points and seven rebounds while Dunbar had seven points and four assists. Knorr matched a career-high with his eight rebounds.
Harmon led Saint Francis with 20 points and he was 8-of-10 from the free throw line. Harmon also had five assists and four steals. Brown had 11 points and nine rebounds.
Navy shot 44.0 percent for the game and was 13-of-26 in the first half. Navy held a 38-24 rebounding edge but committed 17 turnovers. Navy shot 10-of-13 from the free throw line for a 76.9 percentage.
Navy will seek its first win of the season against Goucher on Wednesday in its home opener. Tip-off is set for 7:00 PM at Alumni Hall.