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Navy 61, Towson 56

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Worth Smith, sidelined since Navy’s season opener due to a dislocated left knee cap, returned to the lineup in style Monday night, scoring 20 points as the Midshipmen defeated the visiting Towson Tigers 61-56 at Alumni Hall in Annapolis, Md.

Smith, a 6-foot-6 forward, led Navy in both scoring and rebounding last season but had not played since he injured that knee in the Nov. 14 season opener against Michigan State.

The senior gave Navy a big boost on offense in this game. He made seven of 14 shots from the field plus five of seven free throws. Smith also had nine rebounds and two blocks.

Guard Brandon Venturini helped Navy (4-8) with 19 points. He went 6-for-6 from the free-throw line.

Free throws proved crucial for Navy as the Midshipmen made 23 of 29. Towson (7-5), which now has lost four straight, hit only 19 of 34 free throws.

Guard Byron Hawkins led Towson with a career-high 23 points.

Navy took the lead late in the first half and held a 32-24 edge at the break. Towson struggled on offense but cut the lead to 59-56 when guard Four McGlynn made a three-point shot with five seconds left.

Venturini then locked up the win with two free throws.

Towson gets a break for a week before it hosts Fairleigh Dickinson on Dec. 29. Navy also gets time off, returning to the court on Dec. 31 for its Patriot League opener at home against Loyola (Md.).

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