Men’s basketball sunk by Navy, Holy Cross

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November 29, 2006

7:54 PM

Poor shooting and 18 turnovers sunk the Tribe’s hopes of a win against the U.S. Naval Academy Tuesday in Annapolis, Md., where they lost 63-79. Playing without freshman point guard David Schneider, who was out with an ankle injury, the College was forced to rely on seniors Adam Payton and Adam Trumbower and junior Nathan Mann to run the offense. Trumbower came off the bench to lead the Tribe in rebounds (6) and assists (4) as well as record a career-high 12 points. Backcourt teammate Payton added 12 points, making five of 16 shots, and Mann scored only three points on one of six shots.

p. Those shooting numbers reflected a general trend for the evening, with the team shooting just 40 percent from the floor, and a season-low 19.7 percent from three-point range. The Tribe’s struggles continued on the defensive end as Navy shot 61.4 percent from the field and an astonishing 64.3 percent from three-point range. This enabled the Midshipmen to establish an early 11-4 lead and maintain the margin throughout the first half. Junior Kyle Carrabine came off the bench to hit three first-half three-pointers to keep the Tribe within striking distance, but the College still trailed 28-38 at the half. The Tribe’s shooting woes continued in the second half. They went 0-9 from three-point range, allowing the Midshipmen’s lead to balloon to 25 points.

p. The first game of the College’s two-game road trip pitted the Tribe against the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., Nov. 25. Down by as many as 13 points in the first half, the Tribe put together a second half run, but it fell short as the College lost 57-66. Payton led the Tribe with 15 points and juniors Mann and Laimis Kisielius chipped in 12 and 10 points, respectively. Holy Cross jumped out to an early 8-2 advantage and continued to extend its lead throughout the first half. The College trimmed the Crusaders’ lead to eight at the break, following senior Corey Cofield’s layup.

p. The Tribe came out ready in the second half with Kisielius’ three-pointer igniting a quick 7-0 run. With 10:10 left in the game, the College tied the score at 44 when Payton nailed a three-pointer off an assist from Mann. However, that was as close as the Tribe would get to victory, as Holy Cross ran off 11 straight points to take control of the game, then hit critical free throws down the stretch to ensure a win. The College held the Crusaders to a 36.3 percent shooting performance (20 percent from three-point range) and forced 13 Holy Cross turnovers, but the Tribe could not capitalize; they were out-rebounded by 11 and had 15 turnovers. Mann provided some positives for the Tribe as he found his shooting touch and made five of nine shots from the field, including two of five three-pointers. Moreover, he grabbed six rebounds and dished out four assists.

p. Prior to the road games, the College hosted the Wagner College Seahawks in front of the largest crowd for a home opener in the Tony Shaver era, as 3,197 fans gathered at Kaplan Arena. The Tribe pleased the crowd with a 77-53 victory over Wagner as Kisielius spearheaded the College’s effort with 18 points on 8-12 shooting. The College jumped out to a quick 8-0 lead and never looked back as the margin swelled to 27 in the latter stages of the second half. Kisielius came out firing as he converted a fastbreak layup and two three-pointers in the game’s first two minutes. Still trailing, Wagner battled back to within two points (13-11), but sophomore Chris Darnell came off the bench to ignite the College, contributing two spectacular assists to cutting teammates junior Kyle Carrabine and Trumbower, and a jump shot.

p. “Usually I try to do the little things and be a glue guy,” Darnell said.

p. Darnell’s plays keyed a 13-3 run that increased the Tribe’s lead to 11. During the run, the College forced five turnovers by using ball-screen traps to disrupt the Seahawks.

p. “We use the ball-screen trap to get them out of their offense,” Kisielius said.

p. The trapping worked as Wagner committed 19 turnovers which turned into 27 points for the Tribe. Despite foul trouble for low-post players’ Cofield and sophomore Peter Stein, the College continued to add to their lead with good shot selection. The Tribe shot an even 50 percent for the game and also out-rebounded the Seahawks by four.

p. The College returns to action tonight at 8:30 p.m. against Jacksonville State University in the W&M Tip-Off Classic. Prior to the start of the Tribe’s game, Virginia Military Institute and Cornell University will play at 6 p.m. in the night’s first match-up.

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