Jan. 11, 2013
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The Navy men's basketball team (6-10) opens its 22nd season of Patriot League play on Saturday, when it travels to Easton, Pa., to face Lafayette (7-10) at 2:00 PM at the Kirby Sports Center. Pete Medhurst will handle the Navy radio call on WNAV (1430 AM, 99.9 FM, wnav.com), SIRIUS (Ch. 134) and XM (Ch. 196) Satellite Radio. Free video streaming will be provided by Patriot League All-Access and live stats will be available on NavySports.com(.)
Navy enters the Patriot League opener having lost four games in a row by a combined 30 points and all of them by 10 or fewer points. The Midshipmen have allowed all four opponents to shoot over 50.0 percent from the field, something that happened just once in the season's first 12 games. Navy does lead the league in scoring defense (58.9 ppg).
The Midshipmen are paced by freshmen Tilman Dunbar (10.8 ppg, 5.3 apg) and Kendall Knorr (7.2 ppg, 41.3 3P pct.) and sophomores Worth Smith (9.4 ppg, 5.7 rpg) and Brandon Venturini (9.4 ppg, 37 3Ps). The Midshipmen are shooting 42.8 percent from the field and 37.1 percent from three-point range.
Lafayette enters the contest with a 7-10 record while having won two straight games over NJIT (83-60) and Penn (85-83). The win over Penn came at the Palestra, Lafayette's first win in 23 tries against Penn in the facility. Four of Lafayette's 10 losses have come to Kentucky (101-49), Maryland (83-74), Stanford (61-55) and Minnesota (75-50).
As a team, Lafayette is averaging 68.9 points per game while allowing 74.8. The Leopards are shooting 45.4 percent from the field and 38.5 percent from three-point range to rank third and second in the Patriot League, respectively, in those categories. The Leopards are 6-2 at home (losses to Princeton and St. Francis, N.Y.) and five of their six Division I wins have come by three points or less or in overtime.
The Leopards boast a balanced attack, led by sophomores Seth Hinrichs (14.4 ppg), Dan Trist (14.0 ppg) and Joey Ptasinski (10.0 ppg). Senior Tony Johnson contributes 11.5 ppg.
Navy head coach Ed DeChellis (Penn State, 1982) is in his second year at Navy, owning a 9-36 record in Annapolis. He has undertaken massive rebuilding projects at East Tennessee State, Penn State and now Navy, owning a 228-267 career record in his 17th season as a collegiate head coach. He will coach his 500th career game on January 26, 2013, vs. Colgate.
The dean of Patriot League coaches, Fran O'Hanlon (Villanova, 1970), is in his 18th year at Lafayette, boasting a 246-270 career record, all at the Easton, Pa., school. O'Hanlon has been named the league coach of the year three times (1998, 1999 and 2010). O'Hanlon holds the record for most games coached (516) and wins (246).
... Navy leads the all-time series, 41-28.
... This is the fourth-most frequently-played rivalry for Navy (69 games), behind Army (116), Penn (81) and American (76).
... The Mids are just 3-9 against Lafayette at the Kirby Sports Center, winning games in 2004, 2007 and 2008.
... Since 1991-92 (when Navy jouned the PL), Lafayette leads, 24-21. In the 45 games played, there is just a 27-point difference (Navy has 3,253 points; Lafayette has 3,226 points).
... Seven of the last 11 games have been decided by seven points or less (Navy is 3-4 in those games).
... Navy is 18-11 (.621) on January 12 all-time.
... Navy is 219-209 (.512) vs. Division I schools from the state of Pennsylvania, having played 14 schools from the Keystone State.
A Navy Win Would...
... stop a four-game losing streak overall.
... end a four-game losing streak at the Kirby Sports Center, dating back to 2008 (last four decided by 45 points).
... snap a 16-game losing streak against Patriot League foes.
... improve Navy's record to 10-12 in Patriot League openers and snap a two-game losing streak in league openers.
... be Navy's first win in January since Jan. 29, 2011 (0-10).
# GO NAVY #