The best way to describe Navy, according to coach Ed DeChellis, is that the Midshipmen have been consistently inconsistent.
“Every time we have won a game, the next game we haven’t played very well,” DeChellis said.
DeChellis’ assessment has been accurate in conference play, where Navy (9-17, 4-11 Patriot League) has failed to win consecutive games.
After beating Lafayette at home on Jan. 5, Navy lost by 23 at Boston University two days later. Following their win over Bucknell at home on Jan. 15, Navy was defeated by Colgate by 22 points on Jan. 18. In the wake of beating Army on the road 79-57 on Feb. 8, they lost to Bucknell by 21 points on Feb. 12.
Most recently, Navy defeated Colgate by 10 on Saturday, before losing to Lehigh on Wednesday by a score of 72-65.
Up until the last couple of games, Navy’s poor shooting performance has been to blame. But shooting was not the problem on Wednesday. Despite shooting a season high 54.9 percent against Lehigh, the Midshipmen were undone by inexperience, which showed in turnovers and a lack of composure at the end of the game.
Navy, whose lead was as big as 10, led by one with 2:28 left to play. But point guard Brandon Venturini turned the ball over three times in the final two minutes, and Lehigh scored 11 unanswered points.
“Part of it is very much inexperience,” DeChellis said. “[Venturini] is a junior, but he is like a freshman because he has never really played before. And so we have some inconsistencies there.
“Part of it is very much inexperience. I think we are playing our best, though. I think we are playing better basketball. I’ve seen improvement in practice, and hopefully that will continue to happen the last four games of the season before we get into the conference tournament.”
Navy sits in ninth place in the Patriot League with three games left in the regular season.
“We put all that stuff up on the [white] board last week, and again yesterday, where we are at and where we want to be,” DeChellis said. “We have to challenge ourselves to go play better on the road. And [so far] we haven’t been able to do that.”