Nov. 20, 2010
IRVINE, Calif. -- Navy rallied from double-digit deficits twice, but couldn't complete a third comeback in falling to a strong Louisiana Tech squad, 80-65, on Saturday night in the 2KSports Classic benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer. The loss drops Navy to 1-4 overall, while Louisiana Tech improves to 4-1 overall.
"I continue to be proud of our effort and I thought we played very hard. We started to find some selfless, rhythmic offensive play and it started to show in our offensive sets," said Navy head coach Billy Lange. "I thought our energy on defense was great. We still need to tighten up some areas, but to force 23 turnovers against a talented team like that is very encouraging. Our on-court leadership was outstanding tonight and our freshmen are learning and gaining more confidence with every game."
Navy fell behind 12-0 just three minutes into the game on four Louisiana Tech three-pointers. The Mids would use an 11-2 run of their own to cut the Bulldogs' lead to 14-11 with 13:36 to play on a J.J. Avila (Fr. / McAllen, Texas) jumper, but La. Tech would embark on an 11-0 run and would increase its lead to 33-16 on a Darius Redding lay-up with 6:02 left.
But Navy would chip into the lead, using a 20-4 run to cut the lead to one with 40 seconds left and trail at halftime just 39-37.
After scoring the second half's initial basket on a tip-in by Mark Veazey (Sr. / Lilburn, Ga.) to tie the game at 39, the Bulldogs used a 15-4 spurt for a 54-43 lead with 11:15 to play.
Navy would rally again, cutting the lead to three at 60-57 on a Jordan Sugars (Jr. / Winchester, Va.) lay-up with 6:09 to play. However, Navy would commit two turnovers in a row, resulting in five La. Tech points and an eight-point lead. It would be part of a game-ending 20-8 run to hand the Midshipmen their second straight loss, 80-65.
"At the start of the second half, I thought we got great looks, but we just did not knock them down. Defensively, we didn't come out with the intensity we needed to and it cost us," said Lange. "We have to take more pride and have more desire to get defensive stops. We had great energy forcing 23 turnovers. We just have to have pride in our defense for 40 minutes. We are getting better and the offense is coming around. I like the shots we are getting and they will start falling for us."
Navy shot 22-of-60 (.367) from the field and went 8-of-32 (.250) from three-point range. The Mids went 13-of-16 (.813) from the free throw line, had 15 turnovers and were outrebounded, 41-29. Sugars had 11 points, Avila and Veazey had 10 each and O.J. Avworo (Sr. / Houston, Texas) and Brennan Wyatt (Fr. / Greensboro, N.C.) added eight and seven points, respectively. Veazey led the Mids with seven rebounds, while Avworo had three assists.
Louisiana Tech shot 52.9 percent from the field and 37.5 percent (9-of-24) from three-point range. DeAndre Brown led six players in double figures with 15 points.
Navy will close out its grueling season-opening stretch on Sunday with a 6:00 pm (ET) tip against Seattle University. WNAV (1430 AM) and WFED (1500 AM) will carry the contest with Pete Medhurst handling the call.
# GO NAVY #