WILLIAMSBURG, Va. — Led by Tyler Nelson’s (Sr., Monroe, N.C.) 16 points, four starters scored in double figures as the Navy (1-0) men’s basketball team began its 2022-23 season with a 74-59 victory over William & Mary (0-1), Monday night at Kaplan Arena in Williamsburg, Va.

The victory marks the third-straight year in which the Mids have won their season-opening game.  The last time the Navy won as many as three-straight season openers were when it won four in a row from the 1981-82 through 1984-85 campaigns.

“I am proud of our kids,” said Navy head coach Ed DeChellis.  “They came into the first game of the year on the road against a good Colonial Athletic Association team in William & Mary, and we didn’t know a whole lot about them because of all of the transfer kids they had come in.  I thought we made offensively big plays down the stretch, but our defense in the second half was really good.”

The teams were within one possession of the other for all but a few seconds of the first 28 minutes of the game.  Nate Allison (Sr., Fayetteville, Ga.) scored on a layup following a steal by Patrick Dorsey (Sr., Raleigh, N.C.) that tied the game –– for the 11th time –– at 50-50 with just under 12 minutes left on the clock.  The Mids held the Tribe to one shot on their next possession; then Nelson drilled his career-high fourth three-point field goal to give Navy a 53-50 lead and account for the 13th lead change of the evening.

Navy also scored the ensuing four points (57-50) and nine of the next 12 points to build a 63-53 advantage with seven minutes showing on the clock.

Five different Mids scored during the 15-3 run, with Daniel Deaver (Sr., Falls Church, Va.) recording the last four points and five points in all during the span.  On the other end of the court, Navy forced William & Mary into two turnovers, a 1-8 shooting effort and just one offensive carom over the same time frame.  

“Defense and rebounding the ball is who we are,” said DeChellis, “and that’s what we did in the second half.  That’s a really good win for us.”

Twice the Tribe was able to winnow the difference down to as few as six points — 63-57, 5:20 remaining; 65-59, 3:45 left.  It took 16 seconds for Navy to score following the former occurrence –– a layup by Sean Yoder (Sr., Dublin, Pa.) –– and 13 seconds for the Mids to score after the latter — a layup by Austin Inge (Jr., Greensboro, N.C.).  The Inge layup started a run in which Navy scored on four-straight possessions to seal the decision.

Both teams shot 48 percent from the field in the first half.  While the Mids shot that same percentage in the second half, the Tribe was able to convert just 31 percent of their field goal attempts after halftime.  Navy ended the game shooting 30-62 from the field and 10-21 (47.6%) from three-point range.  William & Mary has 23-57 overall shooting effort, which included a 6-21 (28.6%) showing from beyond the arc.

The Mids also held a 15-3 advantage in fastbreak points.

Nelson was 4-6 from three-point range and scored 16 points for the Mids.  Yoder and Deaver each scored 14 points and neared a double-double as Yoder grabbed nine caroms and Deaver had eight boards.  Inge totaled 11 points to round out the foursome in double digits.

“It is early,” said DeChellis, “so the young guys aren’t really sure what they are doing yet.  Tyler had a nice game, Deaver had a nice game and Yoder had a nice game.  And then Austin (played well), so we had four starters in double figures.”

Navy will open its home slate Friday when it faces Princeton in the second game of the ninth annual Veterans Classic doubleheader.  The Mids and Tigers tip at 8:30 p.m. following the 6 p.m. game between No. 3 Houston and Saint Joseph’s.  Both games will be televised on the CBS Sports Network.  Tickets remain available at 1-800-US4-NAVY.

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