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Navy sinks men’s basketball with slow pace

Moments after the final buzzer sounded on the Binghamton men’s basketball team’s 68-50 loss to Navy, head coach Tommy Dempsey had trouble processing his squad’s performance.

“I’m struggling for words right now,” he said. “I was shocked by the way we played today. We were uninspired. I can’t put my finger on it.”

After surging for an 89-79 comeback win at Cornell, the Bearcats (1-3) came out flat this afternoon at the Events Center. The Midshipmen (2-2) opened on an 8-0 run, carried a 31-26 lead into halftime and led by as many as 21 points in the second half.

“We had to play comeback basically from 10 minutes down in the first half,” freshman point guard Marlon Beck said. “To play like that, yeah we did against Cornell, but it’s not something you can do every single night.”

Binghamton shot 28.3 percent from the floor, went 2 of 19 from long range and turned the ball over 18 times. Navy slowed the pace, and generally kept the Bearcats out of transition.

“They wanted to make the game boring, and that’s to their credit, I think it was a very boring game,” Dempsey said. “We couldn’t get the place alive, we couldn’t get the crowd into it and that’s a credit to Navy.”

A fastbreak layup by redshirt junior guard Rob Mansell briefly energized the crowd with 4:54 left in the first half, as Binghamton embarked on a 10-1 run to pull within 24-23. But Navy regained the momentum with a pair of foul shots and a 3-pointer to hold its five-point advantage at the break.

From there, the Bearcats struggled against the Midshipmen’s zone defense, scoring just nine points in the first 12:30 of the second half as Navy’s lead grew to 19. Binghamton scored 15 points in the last 7:30 of play, but couldn’t force enough stops to threaten Navy.

Dempsey said he would need to review game film before asserting the zone played more of a role in his offense’s futility than anything else.

“I wouldn’t say that against their man we were getting what we wanted to get either,” he said. “The only time I really felt we could get out and score was when we were in transition.”

The Bearcats, who buried 15 of 26 3-point attempts at Cornell, couldn’t find any rhythm on the perimeter against Navy. But they also didn’t score a single point off the block, as each of their 18 points in the paint came on a drive, short jumper or put-back.

“We’ve got to throw the ball inside a little bit,” Dempsey said. “We’re just so perimeter-oriented right now. That’s on me. We have to find more creative ways to get the ball inside.”

Beck and sophomore guard Jordan Reed were the only Bearcats to reach double-figures in scoring. Beck finished with 11 points on 3-of-9 shooting, while Reed scored 13 points, grabbed 14 rebounds and recorded three steals in 39 minutes of action. The two combined for 11 of Binghamton’s 18 turnovers.

As a team, the Bearcats registered just three assists on 13 field goals.

Sophomore point guard Tilman Dunbar posted a game-high 17 points for Navy, which featured four players in double-figures. Sophomore forward Will Kelly scored 12 points and grabbed six rebounds, while sophomore guard Kendall Knorr went for 11 and eight.

Junior guard Brandon Venturini scored 10 points and tallied four steals in the first half before exiting the game with an injury sustained when Reed slammed in an offensive rebound.

The Bearcats are off from game action until next weekend, when they’re scheduled to host Radford.

Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. on Saturday at the Events Center.