Mids Defeat Lafayette to Win 10th Conference Game
Feb. 11, 2017
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Junior Bryce Dulin scored 18 points with eight rebounds to help the Navy men's basketball team (15-11, 10-4 PL) come-from-behind and then hold off Lafayette (7-18, 3-11 PL), 68-60, on Saturday night at Alumni Hall. Navy remains in a tie for second place with Boston U. in the Patriot League standings.
"I thought it was a gutty performance by our team," said Navy head coach Ed DeChellis. "We didn't play very well offensively in the first half and we didn't play very well defensively in the first half either. I thought in the second half we got after them a little bit and played better defense and that allowed us to get our transition going a little bit. We got some open shots. In the second half, we played better offensively. We slowed down and did some good things."
Navy struggled in the first half, shooting just 27 percent while allowing Lafayette to shoot 63 percent as the Leopards led 26-23 at halftime. The Mids stormed back in the second half, outscoring Lafayette, 45-34, and outshooting the Leopards 60 percent to 33 percent in the final 20 minutes.
"We picked up the defense a lot," said Dulin. "We started to flow more naturally on offense and everyone had confidence. The ball was moving a lot better in the second half and we started getting open shots. People started stepping up and making them."
Lafayette held a slim advantage over Navy from the 3:12-mark of the first half to the 5:46-mark of the second half when Navy was able to retake the lead with a 9-0 spurt that featured three straight 3-pointers. Shawn Anderson sunk a 3-pointer and then sophomore forward Geroge Kiernan knocked down two more on the next two possessions to go ahead 59-52.
Lafayette was able to get within three points after four straight free throws by Matt Klinewski and Nick Lindner, but Tom Lacey kept an offensive rebound alive that sophomore Hasan Abdullah corralled and then Anderson drilled a 3-pointer later in the possession to extend Navy's lead to six with under two minutes to play.
Lindner made Lafayette's next four points, while Navy missed the front-end of a one-and-one opportunity to cut the margin to 62-60 with 25 seconds to play. However, the Mids then made six straight free throws to seal the game. Abdullah made two free throws before a Navy stop and defensive rebound by Dulin. Dulin was fouled and made two free throws and the Mids got another stop on the defensive end. Dulin pulled down the defensive rebound, was fouled and made two more foul shots with 10 seconds left. Lafayette missed another shot and then chose not to foul as Navy finished the 68-60 win.
The second-half comeback was much needed as Navy struggled through long scoring droughts in the opening period. A steal and fastbreak layup by Anderson put Navy ahead 10-7 with 14:29 to go, but the Mids were able to manage just two more field goals in the next 8:34. Navy was able to stay in the game due to its defense, but Lafayette finished the final four minutes on an 8-2 run to take a 26-23 lead into halftime.
Lafayette grew its lead to seven points early in the second half, but senior Edward Alade dunked coming down the lane and Navy would later get a steal by Abdullah leading to fastbreak layup by senior Tim Abruzzo. Sophomore Nourse Fox made a free throw and then Lacey scored inside to cap the 7-0 run to even the game at 41-41.
Lafayette pulled ahead again, but 3-pointers by Abruzzo and then Abdullah evened the game again at 50-50. The Leopards would briefly retake the lead before Navy's critical 9-0 run on the three 3-pointers.
Navy was 2-of-12 on 3-pointers in the first half and was 7-of-11 from distance in the second.
Navy held a 37-23 edge in rebounding and held a 15-0 advantage in second-chance points thanks to its 15 offensive rebounds.
In addition to Dulin's 18-point, eight-rebound performance, Anderson scored 11 points with five rebounds, three steals and two assists, while Abdullah tallied 10 points, six assists and three steals.
Alade posted eight points with six rebounds, while Kiernan (9 points) and Abruzzo (7 points) were effective offensively off the bench.
Navy was able to complete the season sweep of Lafayette and Dulin scored a combined 41 points in the two wins over the Leopards this season. Navy has won five straight games against Lafayette.
Lindner scored a game-high 23 points and was 8-of-9 from the free throw line. Klinewski scored 12 points.
Navy entered the game ranked 19th in the NCAA in scoring defense and lowered its season points-allowed average to 63.2.
Under DeChellis, Navy has now increased its conference win total for the fifth straight year and the 10 wins are the most league wins by Navy since going 11-1 in 2000, 17 years ago.
Navy has won 10 of its last 11 games.
Navy will next play at third-place Lehigh (8-5) on Wednesday evening. Navy defeated Lehigh, 75-72, in the season's first meeting in Annapolis on Jan. 18.