Sunday afternoon's men's college basketball game between host Navy and Washington College proved to be a win for both squads.
For the Midshipmen, it was a chance to bounce back from Friday's 10-point loss to Ohio State in a commanding way, dispensing with the Division III Shoremen, 74-47, to record the team's first victory of the new season.
"You just want to get the first win out of the way, get in the win column and move on from there," said Navy guard Tim Abruzzo, who led all scorers with 21 points as he made all six of his shots in the first half, including a trio of 3-pointers for a 43-21 halftime advantage. "At the end of the day, we played pretty well and got that first win."
Washington College actually walked away without an official loss – Division III programs cannot play official games until Nov. 15 – and it was able to prepare for its upcoming season against a much taller Navy squad that outrebounded the Shoremen, 44-17. Washington College's fullcourt press, however, was able to force 23 Navy turnovers.
"I was just want to thank (Navy) Coach (Ed) DeChellis; he is my mentor," said Shoremen coach Aaron Goodman, who spent nine years as an assistant coach at Navy before assuming his first head coaching position at Washington College a year ago. "He just gave us an opportunity to come. I just appreciate the opportunity and it will help our guys down the road.
"We've been working on our pressure and I think we've been getting better and better. That was big to do that against a team with this kind of talent."
That talent gap showed for much of the first half as the Midshipmen shot 57 percent from the field, including 6 for 12 from the 3-point line, and outrebounded Washington, 21-9, en route to building its 22-point halftime advantage.
Besides Abruzzo's 17 first half points, Navy got at least two points from eight other players, including eight of Nourse Fox's 13 points on 3-for-3 shooting from the floor.
"I thought we were focused to start the game; I thought we weren't focused at all in the second half," DeChellis said. "The first half, I thought we did some good things. Timmy (Abruzo) did some good things. In the second half, I was a little disappointed with our execution."
After intermission, Washington College was able to cut the deficit to 15 points, 46-31, early on behind eight straight points from James Drury. But a modest 11-6 run by the Midshipmen pushed the lead back to 20 points and Navy was never challenged the rest of the way.
Despite the lopsided victory, DeChellis expressed disappointment in the team's 23 turnovers, 10 of which came from the low post. His goal this week is to help his frontcourt players become more comfortable handling the ball. He also wants to set a player rotation, which has been difficult with the absence of various players due to injuries, including starter Shawn Anderson, who sat out the contest as a precaution as he rests from lower leg tendon issue.
Navy is idle until the weekend when it heads to North Carolina to play a trio of contests at the HPU Tournament at High Point University.