Colgate brought the Navy men’s basketball team down to earth in a big way Thursday night.
The Red Raiders came to Annapolis and took it to the Midshipmen on both ends of the floor from start to finish.
Junior forward Keegan Records scored 25 points on 11-for-13 shooting to lead Colgate to a convincing 69-50 victory over Navy before another sparse crowd at Alumni Hall. Senior guard Nelly Cummings contributed 16 points for the Red Raiders, who led the whole way.
“That was an old-fashioned butt-whipping from start to finish and I don’t have an answer for it,” Navy coach Ed DeChellis said. “We didn’t do anything tonight. We didn’t execute offense, we didn’t rebound, we didn’t guard.
“It was just a total breakdown offensively and defensively. That’s not acceptable, not the way we’re supposed to play.”
Senior guard Jack Ferguson totaled nine points, seven rebounds and three assists for Colgate (6-10, 2-1), which was picked to place second in the Patriot League in the preseason poll of coaches. The Red Raiders have already had two conference games postponed because of COVID protocols.
Junior forward Tyler Nelson and junior guard Sean Yoder scored nine points apiece for Navy (11-5, 4-1), which had its four-game winning streak to start Patriot League competition snapped. Playing their fourth straight game without leading rebounder and second-leading scorer Greg Summers, the Midshipmen struggled mightily throughout.
Leading scorer John Carter Jr. only took four shots in scoring just two points for Navy, which trailed by double digits for most of the game. It was a team-wide offensive power outage for the Midshipmen, who shot a season-worst 32.8 % (19-for-58) from the field and committed 12 turnovers.
“Offensively, we were so bad tonight,” DeChellis said.
Colgate coach Matt Langel was pleased his club only gave up nine second-chance points. Navy has been a formidable offensive rebounding team all season but only grabbed eight Thursday night.
“I thought we guarded really well and didn’t give them a lot of second-chance opportunities,” Langel said. “That’s one of the best offensive rebounding teams in the country. For Navy to have almost 40 missed shots and only give up eight offensive rebounds is rare.”
It was an equally disappointing defensive performance for a team that takes pride in shutting down opponents. Navy’s typical tough, aggressive defensive style was absent as Colgate got plenty of wide-open looks and repeatedly took the ball to the basket for uncontested layups in shooting 50.8% (30-for-59) from the field.
“We tried to focus on ball-screen defense and were no good on that. One of the keys was containing the ball and we looked a step slow,” DeChellis said. “We weren’t guarding the ball. They just drove it right by us. They had 50 points in the paint. I can’t explain it.
“They looked like they were playing at a completely different speed than we were.”
Colgate normally relies heavily on 3-point shooting and only went 3-for-20 from beyond the arc. It didn’t matter since the Red Raiders got the ball inside to Records for post points or easily drove to the basket for layups.
“I thought it was a really good night for our group. To come in and beat a good team on the road speaks to our toughness and experience,” Langel said.
Colgate finished with a 42-31 advantage in the rebounding department. It was just the second time this season the Midshipmen were out-rebounded.
“Obviously, I didn’t do a good job of getting them focused because we were nowhere to be found tonight. Nobody played well, not one guy,” DeChellis said. “We didn’t play with any energy. We were out there just skating around.”
After falling behind by 14 points just three minutes into the second half, Navy played a brief stretch of good basketball. A transition 3-pointer by junior guard Patrick Dorsey cut the deficit to 49-43 at the 13:11 mark, but Colgate responded immediately and needed just two minutes to push the lead back to 12.
Navy got sloppier and sloppier on both ends of the floor as the advantage steadily grew down the stretch. The 19-point margin at the end marked the largest lead for Colgate.
“I didn’t recognize that team tonight. I asked the players at halftime, ‘Who are you? You guys are imposters,’” DeChellis said. “It’s just one of those games. We’ll come back here tomorrow and try to figure it out.”
Navy must regroup quickly and get ready for a Sunday afternoon contest at Boston University, which will be looking to avenge an 83-71 loss in Annapolis on Jan. 4. Navy is now in a four-way tie for first place in the Patriot League along with Army West Point, Loyola Maryland and Lehigh.
Sunday, 1 p.m.
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