ANNAPOLIS, Md. --Tilman Dunbar tallied 16 points with 11 assists and Navy ended both halves on big runs to defeat Binghamton, 75-52, at Alumni Hall on Wednesday night in Annapolis.
The victory moves Navy's record to 2-1 overall while Binghamton falls to 0-3 overall.
"I am proud of our kids. We are a team trying to learn how to win. We got sideways for about 4-5 minutes in the second half and didn't do the things that we were doing to get the lead," said Navy head coach Ed DeChellis, who was celebrating his 54th birthday on Wednesday. "But we made a big shot or two, got a defensive stop and then we were off and running again. It's one of those games that I told the kids we had to have it. We are trying to get better and create a culture of winning. They responded very well. It was a good overall team effort."
The story of the night was Navy freshman point guard Tilman Dunbar (Fairfax, Va.). Dunbar finished the night with 16 points, 11 assists, three rebounds and two steals against just one turnover in 35 minutes of action. The 11 assists tied the school record for most assists in a game by a freshman, set four other times, the last occurrence coming by Greg Stephens against Holy Cross on Jan. 14, 1995.
"Tilman played exceptional. He got other guys shots, he got to the line and scored the ball," said DeChellis. "I am very hard on Tilman during practice, because I know how important that position is. He is very important to us. My job is to try and make sure he is as focused as he can be. He is the quarterback. He has to do everything, so I am pretty tough on him. He needs to play poised, and he has done a great job of doing that. He has improved significantly the last three weeks."
"I knew I could get by my guy so I was worried about drawing the second defender. If he came to help, I dished it off. If he didn't, I tried to score," said Dunbar, who is now averaging 12.3 ppg and 7.7 apg with an assist-to-turnover ratio of almost 4.00. "I just found them and they would finish. That is what I was trying to accomplish.
"The record is cool, but I am just happy we got the win," added Dunbar. "I just play the game. I don't care about records. If it happens, it happens, but I am more concerned and focused about making the team better."
Navy trailed 24-21 at the five-minute mark of the first half, but embarked on a 16-2 run to close the half for a 37-26 halftime lead. Freshmen would score 13 of the 16 points, including a pair of three-pointers by Kendall Knorr (Concord, N.C.).
Navy would stretch the lead to 50-36 with 12:51 to play, but went scoreless for the next two minutes as Binghamton used a 9-0 run to cut the lead to 50-45 with 10:47 left. But Navy countered with a 10-0 run of its own over four-plus minutes for a 60-45 cushion with 7:36 to play.
After Binghamton cut the lead to 50-45, Navy closed the game on a 25-7 run for the final 75-52 margin.
The win was the largest against a Division I opponent since beating Lafayette, 90-67, on Feb. 14, 2009. It also marked the first time since 2000 that Navy has held three straight opponents to 55 or fewer points.
Navy shot 24-of-54 (.444) from the field and 3-of-11 (.273) from three-point range. Navy was 24-of-38 (.632) from the free throw line, including 12-of-16 in the final 9:30 of the contest. Navy outrebounded the Bearcats, 41-39, and had 16 assists to eight turnovers.
Binghamton shot 16-of-49 (.327) from the field and 2-of-14 (.143) from three-point range. The Bearcats were 18-of-32 (.563) from the free throw line and were guilty of 18 turnovers.
There were a total of 47 fouls called in the contest, including 30 in the second half.
Dunbar led Navy with 16 points and 11 assists and Worth Smith (So. / Mooresville, N.C.) added a season-best 13 points and six rebounds. Thurgood Wynn (Jr. / Bethesda, Md.) scored 11 points with a career-high eight rebounds while sophomore big man Jared Smoot (Crown Point, Ind.) continued his improvement with eight points and nine rebounds.
Freshman Jordan Reed led Binghamton with 15 points and 11 rebounds.
Navy now hits the road for its next four games as part of the South Padre Invitational. The Mids travel to Birmingham, Ala., on Sunday to face UAB at 4:00 PM (ET), then to Fort Worth, Texas, to take on Big 12 member TCU on Tuesday night at 7:00 PM (ET). Navy's final two games of the roadtrip come at South Padre Island off the coast of Texas against Prairie View A&M (Friday, Nov. 23, at 3:30 PM ET) and against either Delaware State or Fairleigh Dickinson at a time to be determined on Saturday, Nov. 24. All four games will be broadcast on the radio by Pete Medhurst on WNAV 1430 AM.