The men’s basketball team lost at home Saturday to the United States Naval Academy by a score of 76-56, dropping its second consecutive contest for the first time this season after falling to University of Massachusetts at Lowell Tuesday.
Brown and Navy battled for most of the game, with the Midshipmen going up by one point at the break before Bruno tied the matchup at 50-50 late in the second half. But Navy’s shooters got hot in the final eight minutes and closed out with a 26-6 run, leaving Bruno in the dust with a 20-point victory.
Navy (4-3) “plays so hard and so physical for 40 minutes,” said Head Coach Mike Martin ’04. “They finished the game with a lot more execution and playmaking than we did.”
Brown big men Matt DeWolf ’21 and Tamenang Choh ’21 opened scoring for the Bears (4-3), with each hitting a layup in the game’s first four minutes. The Bears’ leading scorer Brandon Anderson ’20 helped his squad build an early lead, sinking a three-pointer and converting a layup off of a Navy turnover to put Bruno up 9-5. Choh got involved from long range as well, connecting on a three-pointer and then consecutive jumpers to maintain Bruno’s hot start. But the Midshipmen slowly clawed their way back into the contest on the strength of accurate shooting by John Carter Jr. and the Navy offense. Despite nine points by Choh and eight by Anderson in the first half, Navy took a 27-26 advantage into the locker room.
Bruno started strong again in the second half, reclaiming the lead via a layup from Choh. Then, touted two-star recruit Dan Friday ’23 entered the game and made the most of his opportunity, sending a no-look bounce pass to DeWolf, who scored through traffic and earned an and-one chance. DeWolf missed the free throw, but redeemed himself on the following possession with a steal, which Anderson capitalized on with another three. Anderson’s bucket gave Brown a 35-29 lead, its largest of the game.
A Cam Davis jumper and a Carter Jr. three cut the Bears’ lead back to one, but Bruno responded when Anderson and DeWolf demonstrated their rapport once again. Anderson found a wide-open DeWolf in the paint, and DeWolf took advantage with a massive dunk to get the Pizzitola Center crowd going. Then, with the game tied at 37, Anderson showed off his court awareness with a no-look, behind-the-back pass to Zach Hunsaker ’20, who connected on a three-pointer to complete the highlight-reel play. Brown was unable to pull away and remained locked with Navy at 50 points apiece with eight minutes left in the game.
Unfortunately for the Bears, the team ran out of highlight plays for the remainder of the contest. Navy’s dynamic duo of Davis and Carter Jr. completely took control of the game in the closing stretch, scoring 13 and nine points respectively in the final eight minutes while the entire Brown team scored just six. The Midshipmen’s dominant ending left Bruno with a disappointing blowout home loss, despite a game that was mostly a back-and-forth affair.
“(Navy) made some tough shots, made some threes back-to-back … to get their momentum going,” said Joshua Howard ’20. “They were physical throughout the whole game.”
The men’s basketball team will look to return to its winning ways Wednesday at home against Merrimack College. After that contest, the Bears will enter a tough road stretch against Stony Brook University, St. John’s University and Duke University later in the month.