The Navy (8-9, 1-4) men’s basketball team was held to season lows for points in a half and the game in a 59-50 loss to Lafayette (4-14, 2-3), Wednesday night at Alumni Hall in Annapolis.
“Defensively, I thought we played really, really well,” said Navy head coach Ed DeChellis. “I thought if we had the game in the 60s, I thought we would win.
“Everything (on offense) was hard. No flow, no rhythm. We are putting a lot of pressure on ourselves because now there is a confidence factor. I thought we had good effort, I thought we played hard, I thought we did a good job defensively especially in the first half. We just couldn’t score.”
Navy held a slim lead for the majority of the first half and took a 31-27 lead at the break. Daniel Deaver (Sr., Falls Church, Va.) scored Navy’s first six points of the game on his way to totaling 13 points before intermission. He was 6-7 from the floor and the rest of the Mids were 6-19.
The Mids also regularly sent the Leopards to the foul line in the first half. Lafayette was 8-14 from the free throw line after entering the day averaging 7.9 free throws made (351st in the NCAA) and 12.0 free throws attempted (349th) a game this year. The Leopards also made eight field goals, three of which were from beyond the three-point arc, in the first half.
Navy was 3-6 from the charity stripe in the first 20 minutes of play. The Mids also made four three-point field goal in the half and 12 field goals in all.
Lafayette quickly scored the opening nine points of the second half to take a 36-31 lead three minutes into the stanza.
“One of the disappointments I have is the start of the second half,” said DeChellis. “We are up four points (at halftime), we make a big three at the end of the first half and then we come out and don’t guard them the way we need to. That’s unacceptable. I need to figure that out.”
The Mids drew to within one point at 39-38 only to see the Leopards score the next five points to take a 44-38 advantage with just under 10 minutes remaining.
Navy brought it back to a two-point game at 44-42 and had a game-tying shot that missed the mark. The Leopards scored on their next two trips down the floor to extend their lead to 49-42 with 5:11 left on the clock, then made the score 52-42 with four minutes remaining.
The Mids drew to within 54-50 with 1:26 remaining after Tyler Nelson (Sr., Monroe, N.C.) scored back-to-back buckets. From there, Lafayette was 5-7 from the foul line and Navy was held without a made field goal.
Navy was 0-12 from three-point range in the second half and ended the frame with a shooting percentage of 30.8 percent. Lafayette was 5-11 from three-point land after halftime and ended the second half with an overall shooting percentage of 45.5 percent. The Mids also were 3-7 (42.9%) from the foul line after halftime, which was in contrast to the 7-11 (63.6%) effort by the Leopards.
Overall, Navy shot 38.5 percent from the field (20-52), 21.1 percent from three-point range (4-19) and 46.2 percent from the free throw line (6-13). Lafayette totaled a 40.0 percent shooting mark from the floor (18-45) and three-point land (8-20) and a 60.0 percent showing from the foul line (15-25).
Navy’s previous low for points in a half was 30 (first half against Holy Cross) and the team’s low for points in a game was 52 (at VCU).
Deaver led the Mids with 15 points as he was 7-10 from the field and made one of his two three-point attempts. Joining him in double figures was Patrick Dorsey (Sr., Raleigh, N.C.) with 11 points, while Sean Yoder (Sr., Dublin, Pa.) posted nine rebounds, eight points and three assists.
Navy takes to the road Saturday for a 5 p.m. game at Loyola.
“We got ourselves in a pickle and we need to figure out how to get out of it,” said DeChellis. “There is a lot of the season left and a lot of games to be played. We need to figure out how to win, string some things together and play with some confidence. We can still accomplish some things we want to accomplish.”