College Basketball

Christian Jones, Tyler Nelson lead Navy men’s basketball to 77-71 come-from-behind victory over archrival Army

Senior guard Christian Jones turned in the most important performance of his career, while senior forward Tyler Nelson took over down the stretch to lead Navy men’s basketball to a gutsy 77-71 victory over archrival Army on Saturday afternoon at Christl Arena.

Jones scored a career-high 21 points in his first appearance against Army, while Nelson came on strong in the latter stages of the second half to finish with 16 points and seven rebounds.


Senior forward Daniel Deaver totaled 14 points and five rebounds for Navy (10-10, 3-5), which has won two in a row after suffering a five-game losing streak. Senior guard Sean Yoder added 13 points for the Midshipmen, who have beaten the Black Knights on their home court eight times since 2013.

Jones led the way with three steals, while Nelson, Austin Inge and Austin Benigni swiped two apiece as Navy harassed Army into 17 turnovers. The Midshipmen scored 21 points off turnovers and 38 points in the paint.


Senior forward Chris Mann exploded for 28 points to lead Army (11-10, 5-3), which led by as many as 12 points late in the first half. Junior guard Jalen Rucker, a Gilman graduate, totaled 15 points and seven rebounds for the Black Knights.

Navy coach Ed DeChellis thought it was important for the Midshipmen to cut the deficit to eight at halftime.

“We didn’t play well offensively or defensively in the first half,” said DeChellis, who coached the 800th game of his career. “I told the kids at halftime we were going to play better in the second half. There was no panic and I was really positive with them.”

Rucker struggled handling the ball and committed six turnovers, while junior forward Charlie Peterson was responsible for four.

Jones drained a 3-pointer to give Navy its first lead of the game, 51-50, at the 12:13 mark of the second half. There would be 10 lead changes and five ties before Navy took control in the final three minutes.

Nelson swished a 3-pointer from the elbow with 2:42 remaining to break a tie at 66 and the Midshipmen led the rest of the way. Army resorted to fouling in the final two minutes to extend the game and Navy made just enough free throws (6-for-9) to keep it a two-possession game.

“I’m really proud of our guys. We turned the game around defensively,” DeChellis said. “We showed some toughness and grit. In my eyes, it looked like Navy basketball.”

Jones, an Annapolis High graduate, had never previously gotten into a game against Army. He made 7 of 9 field goals, including 4-for-6 from 3-point range.


“Christian made a lot of big shots. He kept us in the game during the first half,” DeChellis said. “I thought our seniors really showed up today. Those seniors made big plays down the stretch.”

Nelson picked up two fouls and spent a lot of time on the bench during the first half, finishing with only three points on 1-for-5 shooting. The 6-foot-6 leaper was much better in the second half, scoring 13 points and throwing down several emphatic dunks.

“Tyler did some great things in the second half. That was the first time in a while that he’s turned the game around with his defensive effort and energy. He made some great defensive plays,” DeChellis said.

Navy at Bucknell

Wednesday, 7 p.m.

Stream: ESPN+


Radio: 1430 AM


Army 75, Navy 61: It was a different story on the women’s side as senior forward Sabria Hunter and freshman guard Reese Ericson led Army to a comfortable 75-61 defeat of Navy.

Hunter posted her 12th double-double of the season with 23 points and 17 rebounds, while Ericson scored a career-high 24 points for the Black Knights (6-12, 4-4), who raced out to an early 9-0 lead and never looked back.

Freshman point guard Maren Louridas scored 20 points for Navy, which trailed by 10 points after the first quarter. The Mids trailed 28-21 at halftime after a low-scoring second quarter in which they outpaced the Black Knights, 9-6.

Junior guard Sam McNaughton chipped in 10 points for Army, which outscored Navy 47-40 in the second half. The Black Knights, who never trailed, scored 40 points in the paint and 18 points off turnovers.

Senior forward Lindsay Llewellyn came off the bench to score 15 points for Navy (1-18, 1-7), which shot 39% (23-for-59) from the field and committed 18 turnovers.


Bucknell at Navy

Wednesday, 7 p.m.

Stream: ESPN+