The baskets are the same height, and the rims are the same size, but Navy's men's basketball team has struggled shooting on the road.
Navy (7-13) fell 74-54 Wednesday night to the Patriot League's only undefeated team, American, 74-54. It was the Midshipmen's fourth straight loss, dropping them to 1-10 on the road this season.
They shot like they usually do away from Annapolis, making only 17 of 46 attempts from the field and 13 of 22 free throws.
“It’s really challenging to win on the road,” Navy head coach Ed DeChellis said, “especially when you have as many young guys as we have.”
On the road this season, the Midshipmen have averaged just 53.4 points per game, shooting 36 percent from the field and making only 59 percent of their free throws. At home, Navy shoots much better, scoring 70.1 points, shooting 42 percent from the field, and converting 69 percent of its free throws.
Navy has just two seniors, and DeChellis played seven freshmen for a total of 64 minutes against American.
While freshman guard Zach Fong led the Midshipmen with 11 points, freshmen forward James Hemphill and guards Michael Brown and Payne Andrew combined to shoot only 2 for 8 from the free-throw line.
“Our guard play has really not been what it needs to be,” DeChellis said. “It’s been a hit-and-miss kind of thing, and that is why offensively we don’t have any rhythm right now.”
Navy (2-7 in the Patriot League) heads to Easton, Pa., on Saturday to play Lafayette (4-16, 0-9), as both teams begin the second half of their conference schedules in search of a much needed victory. Navy won the teams’ Jan. 5 meeting, 79-71.
A win over Lafayette would allow Navy to match its win total of eight from last season and give the Midshipmen their most Patriot League wins (three) since the 2010-11 season.
“Are we going to win the Patriot League outright? No we can’t do that now,” DeChellis said. “But we can certainly put ourselves in a position to get a decent seed in the tournament. And hopefully we have a chance to do something in the tournament. That’s what is fun about college basketball."