Nov. 26, 2013
ANNAPOLIS, Md -
Sophomore guard Kendall Knorr scored a career-high 17 points, including seven in the final 22.5 seconds, to lead Navy (4-3) to a 67-59 win over Maryland Eastern Shore (2-3) on Tuesday evening at Alumni Hall. Knorr also had a career-high six assists, seven rebounds and one steal.
After Hakeem Baxter's field goal with 58 seconds left pulled UMES to within three points at 60-57, Navy ran time off the clock before sophomore point guard Tilman Dunbar took the ball into the paint and turned and found Knorr at the top of the key and the 6-foot-3 guard drilled a three-pointer as the shot clock expired and with 22.5 seconds on the game clock to put Navy up six.
"I knew Tilman was going to attack and we do it like that in practice," said Knorr. "We drive middle then fill behind, so I filled behind and I knew all the players and all the coaches have all their confidence in me. It was a great pass and a great set up and I had no choice but to knock it down."
UMES couldn't convert on the other end and Knorr got the defensive rebound and was fouled. Knorr was sent to the line for a one-and-one opportunity and he hit both free throws with 14 seconds left. UMES came down and Baxter scored again to pull within six, but Knorr was fouled and the lefty knocked down two more free throws with 7.6 seconds left to seal with 67-59 win.
Navy earned its fourth win in its last five games and stayed perfect in Alumni Hall with a 3-0 record.
"I'm really proud of our kids," head coach Ed DeChellis said. "Kendall made some big shots and he made his free throws, but it was a good team effort. Winning close games like this are very important for us and we have to protect our home court."
The two teams went back-and-forth to open the first half but Navy was able to get some separation when Michael Brown hit a three-pointer to give Navy a 17-13 lead. However, UMES went on a 12-0 run to take a 25-17 lead as Navy struggled offensively. Navy was held scoreless for 4:49 until a dunk by Worth Smith broke the spurt with 5:40 to go in the first half.
Navy was able to close the first half on a 14-4 run to get the lead back before halftime. Knorr drained a three pointer and then James Hemphill
hit a 15-foot jumper. Smith then got ahead of his defender and put in a layup to pull Navy within two at 28-26. UMES pulled ahead for a 30-26 lead, but Navy scored the next five points on a Hemphill free throw and then two free throws by Knorr, following a technical foul to UMES, and finally a Dunbar driving layup.
The teams traded buckets with Smith hitting a jumper to give the Mids a 33-32 halftime lead, a lead it would not relinquish the rest of the night.
Both Navy and Maryland Eastern Shore started slow to open the second half and it wasn't until a Dunbar layup at 16:19 that the first point of the second half was scored.
UMES cut into the lead and pulled within one at 40-39, but Hemphill made a free throw and Smith hit a jumper to take a four-point lead. After a UMES three by KyRee Jones, Knorr made a nice play to keep an offensive rebound alive and then Grant Vermeer drilled his second three of the game.
Three possessions later, Knorr got back on defense on a 3-on-1 fast break and took an offensive charge and then hit a three-pointer on the other end. Dunbar followed with a layup to cap an 8-0 run and give Navy a nine-point lead at 51-42.
UMES was able to stay in the game by knocking down timely three-pointers, but Navy was able to open up an eight-point advantage at 59-51 with three minutes to play after Vermeer picked the pocket of a UMES player and took it down for a breakaway layup.
Navy then began to get careless and turned the ball over on three straight possessions while UMES hit timely free throws and eventually pulled within three at 60-57 before Knorr took control of the game and led Navy to victory with his big three-pointer and four straight free throws.
After getting outrebounded by two in the first half, Navy outrebounded UMES by seven in the second half and held a 40-35 edge for the game.
"We had a great team effort in the second half," said Knorr. "We outrebounded them and that's why we won the game. We fought and we battled on the boards and that was the key in the second half."
Navy, the Patriot League's leader in scoring defense, held its fifth opponent to 60 or fewer points this season.
Dunbar finished with 15 points and seven assists while Smith had 14 points and nine rebounds. Vermeer, a freshman, had his best performance to date with eight points, two rebounds and two steals in 16 minutes.
Knorr was 3-of-5 on three-pointers and went 6-of-6 from the stripe in addition to his impressive stat line of 17 points, seven rebounds and six assists.
Jones scored 16 points for UMES. He was 5-of-10 on three-pointers but 0-of-12 on two-point attempts. Baxter had 15 points and center Francis Ezeiru had 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Navy will play its third straight home game against The Citadel on Wednesday, December 4.