Offensive struggles overtake defensive liability as latest concern for Navy men's basketball

Last week, Ed DeChellis thought issues on defense had contributed to the Navy men’s basketball team's three-game losing streak. Now the coach is worried about the other end of the floor.

The Midshipmen struggled mightily on offense Tuesday night, scoring just 13 points on 5 of 30 shooting in the first half en route to a demoralizing 55-32 loss to Patriot League rival Boston University.

Navy dropped to 6-8 overall and 1-2 in the conference and squandered a chance to build on the momentum of Sunday’s 79-71 win over Lafayette on Sunday.

“Offensively, we were just very, very poor,” DeChellis said Wednesday morning after returning from Boston. “Couldn’t make a shot. We shot 16 percent in the first half and lit it up for 26 percent in the second half. We just couldn’t make a basket, and that was our demise. I thought defensively, we were solid, but we just couldn’t score.”

The team’s offensive futility was the program’s worst since Feb. 4, 1942 when that squad scored just 25 points in a four-point loss to Penn State. The 16.7 field-goal percentage from the floor was tied for the second-lowest in a half since 1951-52.

One might think that the offense’s problems against the Terriers on Tuesday night were an anomaly after the unit’s explosion against the Leopards on Sunday, but that’s not the approach DeChellis is taking.

“I’m concerned about it,” he said. “We score 70-something against Lafayette on Sunday afternoon and then we scored dismally the other night. So I’m not burying my head in the sand and saying it’s just a one-game thing. Offensively, we’re somewhat sound when we make our jump shots. We are not a team that can throw the ball into the post and score with it. So you end up being a jump-shooting team and offensively, we’re still not in sync yet with playing a different point guard. But it’s not his issue, it’s a team issue. We’ve got to figure each other out now and how we’re going to score the ball. But I am concerned about it, and we’ll try to work through it in the next few practices and get ready for Saturday’s game against Army.”

Senior forward James Loupos has joined junior guards Brandon Venturini and Earl McLaurin, junior forward Worth Smith and sophomore guard Kendall Knorr in the starting lineup for the past three games, but DeChellis said he is considering shaking things up for Saturday’s home game against the Black Knights (6-7, 2-0).

“We’re still trying to tinker with it,” DeChellis said. “The biggest problem is we’ve got no consistency whatsoever shooting the ball. Venturini shot it great against Lehigh and not so well last night. Kendal Knorr has not shot the ball well, and Worth Smith has not shot the ball well at all. You’ve got to be able to make some baskets. Worth in three league games is shooting [30.8] percent and Kendall Knorr as a starter in three league games is shooting [23.1] percent. We’re not lighting it up. We’ll try some other guys. We’re still tinkering around with that lineup.”

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