SOUTH PADRE ISLAND, Texas — Prairie View A&M’s Carl Blair made a driving layup with no time left to hand the Navy men’s basketball a 42-40 setback in the opening round of the South Padre Island Invitational on Friday afternoon.
The loss sends Navy into Saturday’s consolation game against Delaware State, starting at 11:45 AM (ET) / 10:45 AM (CT). Navy falls to 2-4 overall, while the Panthers, who are picked to win the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) title, improve to 3-4 overall.
Navy has now lost two straight games by two points and three of its four losses have come by five points or less.
“We had the exact same scenario as we had the other night against TCU. You have to make one more play,” said Navy head coach Ed DeChellis. “You can’t go 3-of-8 from the free throw line and miss front ends of two one-and-ones. Every time we had a chance to stop the bleeding, we would miss a free throw. You can’t let a guy dribble 90 feet for a lay-up to win the game. Those are winning plays you have to make. It’s very disappointing, but you have to make basketball plays. Every play matters.”
Navy surged out to a 24-12 lead right before halftime, before the Panthers connected on their only three-pointer of the first half to cut the lead to 24-15 at the break.
After the Panthers cut the lead to 27-22, Navy scored the next five points to regain a double-figure lead at 32-22 with 13:32 left. Navy would still lead by eight at 37-29 on a Kendall Knorr (Fr. / Concord, N.C.) three-pointer with 8:01 left, but that would be Navy’s last field goal as the Panthers chipped at the lead.
Prairie View A&M took its first lead since 2-0 on a Jules Montgomery lay-up with 2:37 to play for a 38-37 Panthers’ lead.James Loupos (Jr. / Skillman, N.J.) regained the lead for Navy with a pair of free throws with 2:40 to play, but Ryan Gesiakowski regained the Panthers’ lead with a layup with 2:25 to play and a 40-39 advantage.
Both teams had several chances to score in the next two minutes, and Navy finally tied the game at 40 when Brandon Venturini (So. / Allendale, Mich.) made one of two free throws with 5.7 seconds left to tie the game at 40.
However, Venturini missed the second attempt and Carl Blair took an outlet pass, weaved through the defense and scooped in a left-handed layup as the clock expired for a 42-40 Panthers’ victory.
The 82 points were the second-fewest combined points by two teams since Navy records started being kept in 1951-52 and the 42 points scored by Prairie View A&M were the fewest for an opponent in a win since March 2, 1948 (Columbia – 40).
Navy shot just 13-of-44 (.295) from the field and went 6-of-21 (.286) from three-point range and 8-of-14 (.571) from the free throw line. Navy was credited with 13 turnovers, including nine in the second half, and were outrebounded, 37-34.
Prairie View A&M shot 18-of-49 (.367) from the field, including 12-of-22 (.545) in the second half. The Panthers were 3-of-20 (.150) from three-point range and 3-of-9 (.333) from the free throw line. The Panthers also had 13 turnovers.
Venturini led Navy with seven points, while Kevin Alter (So. / Rumsen, N.J.) and Knorr added six points each. Four players led Navy with four rebounds.
Jourdan DeMuynck led the Panthers with 13 points and 12 rebounds.
Navy will face Delaware State at 11:45 AM (ET) in Saturday’s consolation game. Fans can listen to the game on WNAV (1430 AM, 99.9 FM, wnav.com) with Pete Medhurst on the call courtside.
# GO NAVY #