CHARLOTSVILLE, VA (NWN) — John Carter Jr. scored 19 points, Sean Yoder 15, and Navy got their first win over a ranked team since the David Robinson era, both in the season opener for an impressive No. 25 Virginia 66- 58. Tuesday Night Team.
The midshipmen beat a team ranked in The Associated Press Top 25—where Virginia’s stay would be brief—for the first time when Robinson led them to Syracuse 97–85 on March 16, 1986.
Facing one of the top programs in college basketball over the past decade, the Navy was the better team in every sense. The midshipmen outclassed Virginia from 45.3% to 41.2%, outclassed the Cavaliers 35-30, got 10 second-chance points for the Cavaliers’ six, and the Virginia six had 15 bench points.
“I just try to focus on who we are in our three things: defend, rebound, take care of the ball. And if we win two of those three things, we’ve got a chance to win the game,” said Navy coach Ed DeChelis.
East Carolina transfer Jaden Gardner led Virginia with 18 points and 10 rebounds, but after the Cavaliers tied the game 55-all with 8:53, they rebounded for more than 8 1/2 minutes. Didn’t score. Another transfer, Arman Franklin made a 3-pointer with 15 seconds remaining.
Meanwhile, Yoder scored twice from inside and Daniel DeVer got a putback while Virginia cooled off, making one of her last 10 shots.
Cavaliers coach Tony Bennett was more concerned with the defensive breakdown.
“They turned out the lights and sometimes we were there, sometimes we weren’t,” he said. “And then whenever we broke up, they took advantage.”
Franklin’s 3-pointer was his second field goal. The Indiana Transfer, reputed for his outdoor shooting, missed nine of 11 shots and six of seven 3s on his Cavaliers debut.
Carter scored his 16 points in the first 13 minutes as Navy blew the Cavaliers from long distance, making eight of his first 10 three-point attempts. The Mids made two of their next 10, before Carter connected for his fifth with 24 seconds to play. This gave the Navy a 64-55 lead and the fans filed for an exit.
old school ed
DeChelis was coaching his 299th game with the midshipmen, and said he pushed his team’s rebounding edge every day.
“We are not the most vertical squad in the country,” he said. “I’m a big rebounding guy in the sense, you know, if you don’t rebound, you’re not playing. You have to go rebound. … I’m old school.”
Navy: A heated shooting start in a hostile environment demonstrated that while the midshipmen lost their best player from last year’s team, their four returning players play with a confident feel. Carter and Yoder led the long-distance breakthrough, but three others took the 3.
“I give credit to my players. They did a great job of handling the pressure,” DeChelis said, noting that it was Navy’s first game in front of a crowd since 2019.
“We have some guys who have a few minutes.”
Virginia: Bennett’s signature pack-line defense often struggles early in the season, especially when involving new players like Gardner and Franklin. This was especially true early on as mids scored eight 3-pointers in the first 13 minutes.
Bennett said the question he later had for his team was: “Why did we wait until the second half to finish it off with that kind of effort?”
The midshipmen remain in Virginia to face Virginia Tech on Friday night, the second of three straight games against Atlantic Coast Conference foes. The last time the Navy faced three ACC teams was in the 1968–69 season.
The Cavaliers stay at home and play Radford on Friday nights.
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