LEXINGTON, Va. — George Conway made six three-point field goals on his way to scoring 28 points in an 80-72 win by VMI (3-6) over the Navy (5-3) men’s basketball team, Saturday afternoon at Cameron Hall in Lexington, Va.
“Just a disappointing loss, a disappointing performance,” said Navy head coach Ed DeChellis. “We didn’t guard the three-point shot, and we talked about that for two days. We wanted to make this team put the ball on the floor, drive it and score over the top of us. We can’t give them catch-and-shoot threes.”
The Keydets held a 15-13 lead midway through the first half, but made seven three-point field goals in the last 10 minutes to take a lead of as many as 19 points before heading into the locker room with a 43-27 advantage.
VMI was 3-5 from long range in the first 10 minutes of the stanza before making 7-11 attempts from beyond the arc in the last 10 minutes. Conway alone was 4-4 from three-point range in the latter part of the first half. Conversely, Navy was 6-14 overall from the floor in the last 10 minutes of the half to be outscored 28-14 during that span.
The Keydets entered the game averaging 10.8 three-point field goals made a game this season, a total they nearly matched through 20 minutes of play this afternoon.
The VMI advantage again grew to 20 points early in the second half at 52-32 with just under 16 minutes left in the game. The Mids soon used a 10-0 run close to within six points at 59-53 with 8:46 still to play. A 5-0 run by the Keydets made in an 11-point game, but Navy whittled the deficit down to four points at 67-63 with 3:43 remaining following a three-point basket by Tyler Nelson (Sr., Monroe, N.C.) and an immediate steal and breakaway dunk by Nelson.
Just 15 seconds later, Conway drilled another triple to stretch the margin to 70-63. Neither team scored for two minutes, with the Keydets ending that drought with a field goal to make it a 72-63 game with 85 seconds left.
The Mids were able to winnow the deficit down to six points three times over the last 40 seconds, but VMI answered each effort by Navy with scores on the other end.
VMI was 14-25 (56.0%) from three-point range for the game, as well as 14-34 (41.1%) in two-point attempts. Navy ended the afternoon 9-28 (47.5%) from three-point land as part of a 29ty-61 (47.5%) shooting effort overall.
The turnover totals were relatively even — Navy had 11, VMI had seven — but the Keydets held a 17-4 advantage in points scored after turnovers.
The result spoiled a great shooting night by Austin Inge (Jr., Greensboro, N.C.). The guard was 9-11 from the field in scoring a career-high 21 points. Nelson contributed a trio of three-point field goals, 15 points, six rebounds and three blocks. Each of his three blocks came at the rim. Rounding out players reaching double figures in a statistic were Patrick Dorsey (Sr., Raleigh, N.C.) with 10 points and Daniel Deaver (Sr., Falls Church, Va.) with a career-best 12 rebounds.
Conway ended the game 6-7 from three-point range and 10-14 from the field overall. Also shooting the ball well for VMI was Tyler Houser, who was 4-5 from beyond the arc in scoring 16 points.
“Conway had a great night,” said DeChellis. “He had 28 points. Between him and Houser they missed two three-point attempts. They really shot the ball well and we didn’t. We had more baskets than they did (29-28) but they made threes and we made twos.
“Defensively, we need to improve. We have to understand that we need to play really, really hard with great energy and great grit if we are going to get better as a basketball team.
Game three of Navy’s stretch of four-straight road games will be Wednesday night when the Mids play at West Virginia.