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Albany Holds Off Navy Rally to Top Midshipmen, 71-61

Brandon Venturini tied a career high with four three-pointers and scored 14 points in the loss to Albany.

Dec. 28, 2012

Box Score

ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- Jacob Iati scored a career-high 26 points and the Albany men's basketball team answered every Navy run in the second half to hand the Midshipmen a 71-61 setback in front of a season-high 2,431 fans at Alumni Hall on Friday night.

The loss was Navy's second straight and drops the Midshipmen to 6-8 overall, while Albany, which is ranked No. 24 in the Mid-Major Top 25 national poll, improved to 10-3 overall.

"You have to give Albany a lot of credit. I thought they shared the ball well and they made big, timely shots every time we made a run," said Navy head coach Ed DeChellis. "We were going upstream all night. Offensively, we just had a hard time scoring and defensively, we gave up a lot of easy points. We'll just continue to work and get better."

Navy trailed 36-24 at halftime and then 50-31 with 15:04 to play when the Midshipmen started to rally. The Midshipmen embarked on a 14-1 run fueled by a pair of Brandon Venturini (So. / Allendale, Mich.) three-pointers to cut the lead to 51-45 with 7:29 to play.

"We are better in the open floor and we did that during the part of the second half when we made our run. We were able to rebound and force some turnovers and get the ball to Tilman (Dunbar) and get out and run. Our problem is that we can`t do that consistently enough. It starts with rebounding," said DeChellis.

But Albany's Iati buried a three on the next possession to kick-start an 8-2 burst to push the Great Danes' lead back to 59-47 with 5:27 to play. Navy would get no closer than 10 points the rest of the way, the last time coming with the final 71-61 margin.

The Great Danes iced the game away by making 8-of-9 free throws in the final two minutes and 14 seconds to thwart any Navy comeback attempt.

Navy held an early 9-6 lead six minutes into the game, but Iati fueled a 17-2 run over six-plus minutes with 11 points to help Albany take a 23-11 lead with seven minutes to play. Navy would crawl back to within six points at 25-19 with 3:05 to play on a Kevin Alter (So. / Rumsen, N.J.) free throw, but Albany scored 11 of the last 16 points of the half for a 36-24 halftime lead.



"We just made some really silly mistakes late in the first half with missed free throws, missed free throw blockouts and silly turnovers," said DeChellis. "We just can't have that at this stage of the season."

Navy would shoot 21-of-54 (.389) from the field, 5-of-18 (.278) from three-point range and 14-of-21 (.667) from the free throw line. The Midshipmen were guilty of a season-low eight turnovers and were outrebounded, 33-29.

"Offensively, we took care of the ball, but we were really stagnant for parts of the game. It slowed the game down for us and when we aren't in the flow and we start missing shots, it affects us on both ends," said Navy freshman point guard Tilman Dunbar (Woodbridge, Va.).

Albany became just the third team, and second straight squad, to shoot 50.0 percent (21-of-42) from the field. The Great Danes were 10-of-24 (.417) from three-point range and 19-of-28 (.679) from the free throw line. Albany had 15 turnovers.

Albany is also just the third team this year (UAB, Mount St. Mary's) to score over 70 points against the Midshipmen.

Dunbar had another outstanding game for the Midshipmen with 17 points, five assists and four rebounds against zero turnovers in 34 minutes of action. Venturini connected on four three-pointers, all in the second half, to add 14 points and three rebounds. Worth Smith (So. / Mooresville, N.C.) tallied 10 points and two blocks and Kendall Knorr (Fr. / Concord, N.C.) contributed five points, five rebounds and three assists.

Navy freshmen scored 30 of Navy's 61 points.

Iati led Albany with 26 points on 8-of-13 shooting (6-of-11 from three) and Luke Devlin added 13 points and six rebounds off the bench.

Albany's bench outscored the Midshipmen's bench, 32-14.

Navy will begin the 2013 calendar year by starting a three-game roadtrip on Jan. 2 in Fort Wayne, Ind., to face IPFW at 7:00 PM (ET).


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