Nov. 23, 2013
ANNAPOLIS, Md -
The Navy men's basketball team (3-3) opened a 22-point halftime lead on its way to a 73-58 victory over UMBC (2-4) on Saturday night at Alumni Hall. The Mids have now won three of their last four games and are 2-0 at home.
Junior forward Worth Smith scored 11 of his game-high 15 points in the opening 20 minutes as the Mids outscored UMBC 43-21 in the first half. UMBC outscored the Mids in the second half, 37-30, but the 22-point first half margin was more than enough to keep Navy in control.
"Worth Smith really got us going early," head coach Ed DeChellis said. "He scored some baskets early and we got a lead and we felt pretty good at halftime. But then in the second half, like a young team, we played not to lose instead of playing to win. It's a building process though and we are getting some growth with that."
Navy began the game on an 8-0 run in the first two-and-a-half minutes. Sophomore guard Tilman Dunbar scored on a layup and then Smith scored Navy's next six points on a free-throw, three-pointer and layup for the fast start. Smith made each of his first four attempts from the floor in the game.
Seven of Navy's next nine points came on free throws as the lead grew to 19-10. After a UMBC three cut into the lead, the Mids went on a 12-2 run. Freshman guard Michael Brown scored five points during the spurt and junior guard Brandon Venturini hit a three-pointer.
Following a UMBC bucket, Navy was then able to reel off a 9-2 run. Freshman forward James Hemphill ignited the run with back-to-back buckets after grabbing two offensive rebounds. By the time Zach Fong drilled a three-pointer in the closing minute, Navy had built up a 43-21 halftime lead.
Navy outscored UMBC, 24-8, over the final nine minutes of the first half.
Early in the second half Navy saw its lead grow to 24, the largest of the game, at 47-23 when Smith dunked a put-back on a missed fast break layup. UMBC never got closer than 17 until the final minute when the Retrievers finished the game on an 8-2 run as Navy claimed the 15-point win at 73-58.
Navy, the top defensive team in the Patriot League, lowered its scoring defense average to 59.0 points while holding its fourth opponent to 60 points or less.
Navy made a season-high 27 free throws (27-of-38) and shot 80 percent from the line in the first half (16-of-20). The two teams combined for 47 fouls and 65 free throw attempts. Navy also outrebounded UMBC, 45-33.
In addition to his 15 points, Smith had nine rebounds, two blocks, one assist and one steal in 32 minutes. Brown tallied 12 points and seven rebounds in his best game so far this season and Dunbar also scored 12 points. Hemphill had nine points, four rebounds and two steals.
"Mike Brown came off the bench and did a nice job," said DeChellis. "James Hemphill, another freshman, came off the bench and did a really nice job and Zach Fong made a couple shots. We had good production off the bench and that was a big positive for us."
Chase Plummer led UMBC with 11 points.
Navy has led the entire game in each of its three wins this season (Goucher, Binghamton, UMBC).
Navy will continue its three-game homestand when the team hosts Maryland Eastern Shore on Tuesday at 7:00 PM.