Late Comeback Against Loyola Gives Navy its 20th Win of the Season
Feb. 24, 2018
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Senior captain Shawn Anderson keyed a game-ending 15-2 run as the Navy men's basketball team (20-11, 11-7 PL) closed the Patriot League Regular Season with a 62-56 win over visiting Loyola (8-21, 6-12 PL) on Saturday afternoon at Alumni Hall.
Navy has clinched the No. 3 seed for the upcoming Patriot League Tournament, its highest seed since earning the No. 3 seed following the 2008-09 season. Navy will host No. 6 Holy Cross on Thursday, March 1 at 7:00 PM in Alumni Hall.
"I'm proud of our kids," said Navy head coach Ed DeChellis. "Winning 20 games is hard. We haven't done it since 2000. We got the third seed, that was important. We still have a lot left to play for."
Navy has won 20 games in a season for the first time since 2000 (23-6) and for just the ninth time in the 110-year history of the Navy men's basketball program.
Loyola took a seven-point lead at 54-47 at the 4:27 mark of the second half after back-to-back buckets by Brent Holcombe. Then coming out of the under-4 media timeout, Anderson was fouled on a made 3-pointer and he knocked down the free throw for the rare four-point play. As Loyola tried to bring the ball up the court, Anderson then had a steal and took it in for a layup and a personal 6-0 run in the span of 15 seconds.
After Navy got a defensive stop, junior forward George Kiernan drew a foul and made two free throws in a one-and-one situation to give Navy a 55-54 lead. Senior forward Tom Lacey had a steal on Loyola's next possession and then junior point guard Hasan Abdullah knocked down a short jumper. Navy would get two more free throws to take a 59-54 lead on a 12-0 run before Loyola's Chuck Champion made a jumper. Loyola tried to pressure Navy, but Anderson got free for a layup to seal the game with 10 seconds remaining before one more Navy free throw ended the game at 62-56.
"I thought Shawn Anderson put the game on his back in the last four minutes," said DeChellis. "He made big plays for us. He made a shot, made a free throw, got a steal and a layup. He turned the game just like that. As a senior captain, you hope he can do that for you and he got us through today."
Navy was able to take an eight-point lead in the first half and led by six at the break (30-24). Navy stayed in control in the second half until a 10-0 Loyola run turned Navy's 43-37 into a 47-43 deficit. Then it was Navy who had to rally back in the final minutes.
Kiernan returned from a two-game injury absence to score a team-high 17 points. Kiernan made two 3-pointers and had two dunks in the game. He also pulled down five rebounds.
Anderson finished with 13 points, while freshman guard Cam Davis scored seven. Lacey had four points, seven rebounds, two assists, two steals and one block.
Abdullah had three steals in the game and his 62 steals on the season rank as the fifth-most in school history. Abdullah had 60 steals last season and that mark now ranks sixth for the most steals in a single season at Navy.
Navy overcame a poor shooting performance to split the season series with the Greyhounds. Navy shot 37 percent from the floor (21-of-57) and 33 percent on 3-pointers (8-of-24). Loyola also outrebounded Navy, 41-35.
"We didn't play very good defensively," said DeChellis. "I don't think we played great offensively either. We didn't play well and we still won the game. That's a sign of something. Our kids made plays and I'm proud of them."
Navy got 38 points from its bench in the contest.
Navy had a strong finish to the Patriot League Regular Season, going 5-1 in its final six games.
DeChellis has now won 20 games at a third different school (East Tennessee State and Penn State).
At 11-7, Navy has increased its conference win total from the previous season for the sixth straight year, which is the longest active streak in the NCAA. Navy's 11 conference wins are tied for the most by the program in the Patriot League era. Navy was 11-1 in Patriot League play in 1999-2000.
Tickets for Thursday's Patriot League Tournament Quarterfinal game are $14 for adults and $7 for youth ages 18 and under. Click here to purchase tickets today. Season ticket holders can call 1-800-US4-NAVY on Monday or Tuesday to purchase their same season seats for the quarterfinal game.