Virginia Tech Prepares For Navy In The Veterans Classic

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Darius Maddox and Virginia Tech play Navy in the Veterans Classic on Friday night. (Ivan Morozov)

Game Details

Virginia Tech (1-0) vs. Navy (1-0)
Time: 8:30 p.m. ET
Television: CBS Sports Network
Tickets: Link
Veterans Classic Info: Link

Series History

After a resounding season-opening 82-47 win against Maine on Tuesday, Virginia Tech hits the road to Annapolis. The Hokies play Navy in the Veterans Classic on Friday night in Alumni Hall (cap. 5,710).

It’s the fourth time Virginia Tech has played at Navy in program history and the first in 62 years. The last time the Hokies played the Midshipmen in Annapolis was Jan. 23, 1960. Mike Young (b. 1963) wasn’t born yet, it was a year after Alaska and Hawaii were admitted as the 49th and 50th states, and two months after The Sound of Music first premiered on Broadway.

It’s been a while.

The Hokies and Midshipmen have played six times (series is split, 3-3) and last met in Dec. of 2008 in Washington, D.C. in the BB&T Classic. Tech won 79-70, its third straight win in the series, behind 21 points from Malcolm Delaney. Jeff Allen and A.D. Vassallo each added 17. The full box score from that game is below.

Ed DeChellis

Head coach Ed DeChellis is in his 11th season at the Naval Academy, and his group had quite the start to the season.

The Midshipmen played No. 25 Virginia in Charlottesville on Tuesday and came away with the 66-58 win. The victory is the program’s first top-25 win since the David Robinson era, when he led Navy to a win over then-No. 9 Syracuse in the second round of the 1986 NCAA Tournament.

A Penn State alumnus, DeChellis was the head coach at East Tennessee State in the SoCon from 1996-2003. That’s where he and Mike Young first crossed paths, when Young began his head coaching career at Wofford in 2002. DeChellis was the head man in Happy Valley from 2003-11 before leaving to take the same position at the Naval Academy.

DeChellis owns a 129-169 (.433) record in Annapolis through ten seasons, and the Midshipmen are coming off their best season under him that resulted in a first-place finish in the Patriot League (15-3, 12-1).

Analyzing The UVa Win

Navy is on a high after its win over Virginia on Tuesday.

The Midshipmen had a phenomenal shooting day in John Paul Jones Arena, especially in the first half. They were lights out from deep, hitting 11-of-21 (52.4%) from three, and made 45% of their attempts from the field. They outrebounded the Cavaliers, too, 35-30.

Friday night is going to be a battle for Mike Young & Co., and they know it.

“I’ve played VMI and The Citadel a thousand times in my 17 years down there as the head coach,” Young said after Tech’s win over Maine. “You know they [Navy] are going to play really hard, you know they’re going to scratch and claw for everything and nothing’s going to be easy, they’re going to be really well coached. … We’ll have our hands full.”

One of the most impressive parts of Navy’s performance against UVa was how well it defended Tony Bennett’s offense. Virginia always controls the pace, but after allowing the Cavaliers to shoot over 50% in the first half, the Midshipmen locked down in the last 20 minutes, only allowing 28%.

Navy forced 14 turnovers, held UVa to 25% from three-point range and got two of the Cavaliers’ starters, Reece Beekman and Kadin Shedrick, into foul trouble with four each.

All five Virginia starters scored, though Jayden Gardner and Kihei Clark were the only two in double figures (18 and 12, respectively).

The Hokies are going to have to find ways to score if three-pointers aren’t falling, take care of the ball (which they did vs. Maine – eight turnovers) and stay out of foul trouble.

The Roster

Here’s a breakdown of the starting five Navy rolled out against Virginia and their statistics against the Cavaliers, with class, height, points, assists, rebounds and minutes, in numerical order:

John Carter Jr. (6-4, Sr.): 19 pts, 2 ast, 5 reb, 35 min
Sean Yoder (6-3, Jr.): 15 pts, 0 ast, 6 reb, 31 min
Tyler Nelson (6-6, Jr.): 2 pts, 0 ast, 4 reb, 24 min
Greg Summers (6-4, Sr.): 8 pts, 2 ast, 5 reb, 22 min
Daniel Deaver (6-8, Jr.): 7 pts, 4 ast, 7 reb, 27 min

The first thing one might notice from looking at the starting five is experience. All five starters are juniors or seniors, which is impressive, and even more so knowing the rigors that they’ve gone through in their time at the Naval Academy.

Virginia Tech has depth in the frontcourt this season, which could work to its advantage at Navy. (Ivan Morozov)

Navy is marginally undersized in the frontcourt compared to Virginia Tech. Here’s the height breakdown for the Hokies:

Storm Murphy: 6-0
Hunter Cattoor: 6-3
Nahiem Alleyne: 6-4
Justyn Mutts: 6-7
Keve Aluma: 6-9

Assuming Nelson and Deaver match up on Mutts and Aluma, Tech has an inch advantage in each of those battles. DeChellis rotated through ten players at UVa, and only two of those guys – Nate Allison (6-7) and Richard Njoku (6-7) – have big frames.

Objective No. 1 for Mike Young & Co. on Friday should be to dump the ball inside and use their size advantage and depth at four and five, especially with David N’Guessan (6-9) and John Ojiako (6-10) coming off the bench.

Rebounding and closing out defensively are both keys, too. Navy was 11-21 from three against UVa, but the duo of Carter (5-8) and Yoder (3-3) were a combined 8-11. Slowing those two down, limiting the three-point shot and forcing Navy inside, where Tech has numbers, size and depth, are important things to keep an eye on in this one. 

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17 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. Don’t think Navy shoots it nearly as well from 3 as they did against UVA. Also, UVA has no shooting… we are more difficult to guard. Just gotta bring the energy and should be good.

  2. Heading there tonight! Looking forward to seeing the boys live, haven’t been able to catch a VT B-ball game live for a few years.

  3. 1960, My RAT YEAR. We had a very good BB team: Chris Smith, Bob Ayersman, Dean Blake, Louie Mills and my all time favorite, Bucky Keller. Coached by Chuck Noe, who should be in the HOF if he is not.
    Fun team to watch in the Old Memorial Hall gym.

    1. My first year too. Chris Smith was awesome and Ayersman had a spot down low on the left hand side. You get him the ball in that place, chalk it up. If open, he would shoot (didn’t miss) and if not, he would drive into the paint and either score himself or if someone else drooped off to help, he dished off to an open man for an easy one.

  4. completely agree with your take on this. I’m quietly confident in this one because of our size advantage which is extremely rare. I can see Mutts and aluma both having big days, especially mutts.

    1. that’s incredible, can i ask how old you were at that time? halsey field house was the court i assume?

      1. I was the only basketball mascot the basketball team has ever had. I was 6 years old and put on the halftime show for all tech games that year with dribbling and shooting. My home and away uniform were the exact same as the team down to the fleece warmups. Made by the Rawlings Corporation in Saint Louis. I have them to this day. Sold timers will remember me in old war memorial.

  5. Heck, I am excited about this game and the season – more so than I can remember. It’s great to have a very sound if not spectacular basketball program. Love to watch college football but college basketball is my main thing. GO HOKIES!!!

  6. I decided to get tickets for this game a few weeks ago. I thought it would be a comfortable win for the Hokies. It looks like we will get an early test. I am interested to see how tough we are. It should be fun.

      1. Hope you guys enjoy!

        I went to soccer camp at the Naval Academy in 2015 and 16 so I’m excited to be back. Got to stay in the dorms, eat at the mess hall, etc. Such a cool experience.

        Went to Military Bowl in 2018, but it’s not the same.

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