ANNAPOLIS -- Opening night at Alumni Hall will go in the books as a lopsided 90-67 win over Gettysburg, but the Midshipmen realize that there is much work to be done if this is to be a successful season.
The Midshipmen, in year two of their run-and-gun offense, shot 42 percent from the field -- including 30 percent in the first half. But a pressing defense that caused 22 Gettysburg turnovers in the first half got Navy (1-1) its first win of the season.
John Haase scored 17 points, Brian Cochran had 16 and plebe forward Derrick Wall had 14 and 12 rebounds to lead the Midshipmen.
"It wasn't pretty," said Navy point guard Victor Mickel, who had nine points and 11 assists. "But it's still a win. We really needed a win, because we're going into the tough part of our season."
Navy's victory came from playing a Division III team that was outmanned and harassed by the pressure defense. The first 11 possessions for the Bullets resulted in six turnovers and five missed shots, as they fell behind 15-0. A layup by Sean Barrett finally got Gettysburg onto the board with 14:36 left in the half, and the Bullets eventually closed to within 22-16 on a three-point shot by Mark Semerjian.
But at the half, the Bullets were down 36-27, despite outshooting the Midshipmen, 58.8 percent to 30 percent. Twenty-two first-half turnovers contributed to that gap.
"I thought it was the intensity," said Gettysburg coach George Petrie. "I thought we started out well in the second half. We got accustomed to it."
Gettysburg would commit just four turnovers in the second half and seemed a bit more comfortable on the floor, but the Midshipmen began the second half with a 16-6 run to take a 54-33 lead just over five minutes. Gettysburg got as close as 61-48, but the Midshipmen opened leads of as many as 27 points.
"We wanted deflections, we wanted charges, and we wanted turnovers because we wanted to get into tempo," said Navy coach Pete Herrmann, who was unhappy with his team's effort in Saturday's 85-62 loss at Hofstra. "We had a bad streak shooting the ball, but when you can pick the tempo up it can only help."
While Navy got the win, last night's game was evidence that a lot more time will be needed for a relatively young team to get into sync.
"It may take a little longer because even our substitutes are inexperienced players," Herrmann said. "It's probably going to take us a little longer" this season.
TC While contributions from Haase and Wall were expected this season, Herrmann was pleased with the way Cochran -- also a plebe -- shot the ball.
"He gave us a good lift," said Herrmann of Cochran, who played just four minutes in the Hofstra game. "He's been playing better and better every day."