Coach Ed DeCheris said this week that the Navy’s men’s basketball team needs to improve its defense if it wants to be a contender for the Patriot League title.
Apparently, the cadets took those comments to heart.
Senior forward Tyler Nelson posted a career-high 25 points as the Navy defeated Boston College 75-58 on lockdown defense in the opening game of the Patriot League between the two schools at Case Gym on Friday.
Senior guard Sean Yoder totaled 17 points and had a team-leading six rebounds (8-5, 1-0) to win the conference opener for the fifth straight season. Senior forward Daniel Deaver gave the Mids his 9 points and his 5 rebounds at home on his court as he beat the Terriers for the second straight season.
The Navy allows an average of 70 points in the non-meeting portion of the schedule, and DeChellis said in no uncertain terms that that figure should be lowered during Patriot League play. I want to be in the second half,” DeChellis said Thursday.
The Mids responded by keeping the Terriers below that.
“It was a very physical game. Our kids played really hard on both ends of the floor and I thought they played pretty well,” DeChellis said. “He’s been averaging 84 points per game in Boston this season and he’s averaging 58. It was a really good defensive effort. The zone was pretty good today.”
After Southwest Airlines canceled flights, the Navy Travel Party had to endure a nine-hour bus trip to Boston. More drama erupted on Friday when the team bus broke down and the coaching staff had to arrange for the team to take an Uber to Case Gym. I was able to leave in time for
Senior swingman Patrick Dorsey came off the bench and totaled 8 points, 5 rebounds and 2 steals in 24 minutes. Freshman point guard Austin Benigni had seven points and five rebounds.
Nelson shot 6-for-10 from the field and 9-for-9 from the free-throw line. Navy stood out from the Charity Stripes as a team, finishing 21-23 in the game. The Mids made 14 of their 16 foul shots in the second half, many coming late when the Terriers were fouling to extend the game.
“I made free throws in bursts to keep the game at a distance,” DeChellis said.
Graduate forward Walter White scored 16 points to lead Boston (7-7, 0-1).
The Navy, who had to take the bus back to Annapolis, will be able to respond quickly as it will be hosting the Holy Cross at the Alumni Hall on Monday night (7pm).