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Men’s basketball defeats Navy thanks to strong efforts from Landrum and Alexander

Boston University men’s basketball avenged their prior loss against Navy on Saturday in a 74-65 win at Case Gym. 

Freshman wing Matai Baptiste (0) shoots a free throw in a game against Navy on Saturday. The Terriers beat Navy 74-65. HOLLY GUSTAVSEN/DFP PHOTOGRAPHER

The Midshipmen (8-17, 4-10 Patriot League) went into the game leading the conference in both steals and turnover margin, a whopping +4.52. A pair of sophomores lead the charge for Navy, the PL’s leading rebounder in forward Donovan Draper and the fourth-leading scorer and assister in the league, guard Austin Benigni.

“I’ve watched [Benigni] play against everyone in the league and when he gets a head of steam, he’s almost impossible to stop,”  BU head coach Joe Jones said. 

The Terriers (11-16, 6-8 PL) were pleased to welcome back senior wing Anthony Morales, who hasn’t played a game since Jan. 20 against the Colgate Raiders. 

Sophomore forward Otto Landrum took over the game right away by scoring BU’s first eight points, exploiting the Navy defense and getting BU going inside early. 

He attributed his 19-point effort to something outside of the game, though. 

“I switched my routine before practice recently,” Landrum said. “I had my first bad game versus Army…I missed like nine bunnies this game, so I switched my routine completely and now … I’m [much] more consistent.”

On the other hand, Navy started with a not-so-consistent 1-6 shooting stint from the field, but a pair of Benigni jumpers got his team rolling. 

A minute later, Benigni drew a charging foul on BU sophomore guard Ben Roy to swing the momentum towards Navy. 

A few minutes later, sophomore forward Nico Nobili drained a triple, beginning a barrage of threes for BU, who hit three three-pointers in their next four possessions. This opened up an eight point lead and after trading buckets with Navy, BU went into the half with a 36-28 lead.

The first five minutes of the second half started similarly, with the two sides going back and forth. 

About five minutes into the half, freshman guard Kyrone Alexander skyed in for two offensive rebounds over Navy defenders, and Morales finished the possession with a three-pointer to give the Terriers a 46-35 lead.

“I definitely see myself as an all-around player,” Alexander said. “I don’t think there’s an added challenge because on a night where I have a rough shooting night, I could do something else.”

He was not referencing Saturday’s game, however, as he tied his career high in points with 19, a high he set two games ago.

In what became a crucial sequence, senior guard Miles Brewster found Alexander, who cut baseline hard but was met by two help defenders. 

Instead of passing it out, he chose to go up and under and finish with a layup high off glass. Soon after, Alexander caught a low pass but nevertheless pulled up and swished the corner triple, putting BU up 59-47. 

But the Midshipmen were not going down without a fight.

Two Begnini scores along with a three from senior guard Austin Inge suddenly cut BU’s lead to four with about 12 minutes to play. 

The Terriers made timely plays down the stretch, though, keeping Navy at an arm’s length.

Navy tried to answer, but the Terriers’s lead was too much to overcome.

Despite the win, coach Jones says that the team needs to improve on a few things, including defensive rebounding, before their upcoming game away at American on Wednesday.

“We’ve got to be able to focus and play the way we are capable of playing,” said coach Jones.

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