OK, let’s be clear about something: Canisius is terrible. I mean terrible. They were 0-2 coming into this game, having dropped their season opener against Colgate (61-47) and following that up by getting blown out at Penn State, 93-40. They are probably the youngest team Navy will face this season, starting two freshmen, two sophomores, and a junior, and having only one senior on the roster. Included in those 5 starters are two guards shorter than 6-0 and nobody taller than 6-6. Canisius makes up for this inexperience and lack of height by being completely unable to shoot, making only 26% of their shots from the floor in those two losses.
That said, Navy still deserves credit for the win after topping the Golden Griffins, 71-60. There are some things to be encouraged about.
The Good: The most encouraging thing to me is that for the second straight game, it looked like the Mids were finally putting together a half-court offense as opposed to just shooting 3-pointers at the first opportunity. Navy only attempted 12. Not coincidentally, Navy also outrebounded its opponent for the second straight game. When your offense consists of four shooters standing around the perimeter and a tall guy to try to catch their missed shots, you aren’t going to grab many boards. Now, Navy has more people in position to grab the rebound. The biggest beneficiary of this was Brian Richards, who had a fantastic night with 15 points and 5 offensive rebounds. Navy dominated the offensive glass, 16-6, and all those offensive rebounds allowed Navy to outscore the Golden Griffins in 2nd chance points, 14-4.
Navy’s defense was OK. Canisius actually shot better than they had all year, but they also turned the ball over more. Navy played a 2-3 zone most of the game, which made sense given that Canisius had been unable to hit shots from the outside in their first two games. The Golden Griffins’ 30 turnovers became 30 Navy points, while they were only able to score 3 off of Navy turnovers.
Mark Veazey continued to show progress, with 7 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 blocked shots in 19 minutes.
The Bad: Speaking of turnovers, Navy had 19 yesterday. Better than the 27 they had against UTSA, but still far too many. The number should go down as the team becomes more accustomed to the offense. At least, that’s what I tell myself.
The Ugly: Greg Sprink led Navy with 17 points, but getting there was pretty ugly. Sprink was 5-21 from the floor, including 0-4 from 3-point range. His wasn’t the only ugly night. Romeo Garcia started in place of Kaleo Kina and went 0-5 from the floor.
Next up: The Big East’s Seton Hall from the Palestra on Friday. The Pirates are 3-0 and coming off of a 94-80 win vs. Loyola. Robert Morris took them to overtime before falling 111-107 in a crazy game. Seton Hall is led by G Eugene Harvey and G/F Brian Laing, who average 42 points, 12 rebounds, and 11 assists between them per game. The game will be shown on CN8, which also allows you to watch online at http://www.cn8.tv/cn8home/default.aspx?lc=ma