Towson State traveled more than 900 miles to do it, but the Tigers got revenge for a home loss to Navy.
Payback occurred at the Pensacola (Fla.) Civic Center, as the Tigers (4-5) overcame an 18-point deficit to beat the Midshipmen, 90-75, to capture third place in the Blue Angels tournament. In the earlier meeting, Navy established a Towson Center scoring record with a 102-88 win Dec. 5.
"I think the fact that we played Navy once before gave our guys some added incentive," Towson coach Terry Truax said. "I had to be pleased with our defensive effort, especially in the second half. It was our best defensive effort all year."
With Towson's top scorers, Devin Boyd and Chuck Lightening, not starting because they missed curfew the previous night, Navy built its biggest lead, 42-24, late in the first half. But the Tigers cut the deficit to 12 by halftime and eventually opened a 12-point advantage in the second half for the win. Lightening and Terrance Jacobs each scored 18 points to lead the Tigers, who lost to Alabama on Friday night.
"The last four games we played away from home have been better efforts than our last home game," said Truax said, referring to the Navy loss. "Because we've played so many road games, I don't want our kids to get comfortable at home. Maybe Navy coming coming in and beating us here will do some good. Hopefully, it won't hurt us."
Navy coach Pete Herrmann saw his team fall short of the 4-5 goal had wanted by year's end.
"We went in with the idea that if we were 4-5 after nine games -- with eight of those on the road -- we'd be an improved team," said Herrmann, whose team dropped to 3-6 Saturday. "We started out strong against Towson and hit a wall with about nine minutes left and didn't score. And still with 2:36 left, we were down by three."
"After being on the road so much, we need some home games," said Herrmann, whose team hit 20 of 30 three-point attempts in its only home game, a 116-98 win over Mount St. Mary's on Nov. 26. "It's a big week coming up for us, with three home games. We'll have to start out in the conference strong."
Last season, Mount St. Mary's freshman Dave Nanni averaged points in his first five games. Then, the 6-foot-8 center was relegated to the end of the bench for the rest of the season.
"I just lost all my confidence last year. First I played a little. Then I didn't play at all," Nanni said. "This year I had a different attitude. I said if I don't play, I'll still keep working hard and wait for my chance."
His chance came Saturday against Colgate. The third-string center responded with career highs in points (15) and rebounds (seven) in 17 minutes and was a big reason the Mountaineers (2-8) broke a four-game losing streak at Knott Arena with a 92-80 win over the Red Raiders.
"I was getting kind of frustrated this year, but I've been working hard, and every day Coach would say I'd get my chance," Nanni said. "I think I can contribute, definitely with my rebounding."
Coppin State took third place in the Medical Value Plan Classic with a 87-66 win over host Toledo on Saturday. Senior guard Reggie Isaac scored 30 and senior forward Larry Stewart continued his steady play with 22 points and 18 rebounds.
After a tough early-season schedule that included road games against Clemson and Oklahoma, the Eagles (4-6) will begin defense of their Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference championship Thursday at South Carolina State. The Eagles won all three meetings against the Bulldogs last season, including a 48-37 slowdown game in the semifinals of the MEAC tournament. But South Carolina State this season is one of the favorites, along with Coppin and North Carolina A&T, for the MEAC title.
"They're one of the better teams in the league, and we play them and then North Carolina A&T," Coppin coach Fang Mitchell said. "Ours is a team that has to learn how to win again."
"We have some leadership problems. We really miss Phil Booth," Mitchell said of the forward who graduated last year. "We're having a lot of mental breakdowns down the stretch."
Coppin, 15-1 in conference play last season, has won 18 of its past 19 against MEAC opponents.
Morgan State (0-9) remained the only winless state Division I team after Saturday's 128-71 loss at New Mexico State. The only bright spot was the play of senior forward Glen Smith, who scored 28 and was the only Morgan player in double figures.
The Bears have yet to play at home this season and will continue to increase their frequent-flyer miles with Wednesday's game at Arkansas State. Morgan will play its MEAC opener at South Carolina State Saturday and won't play at home until a game against Brooklyn College Jan. 11.