Men's Basketball Defeats Denver in Homewood Suites FGCU Shootout Finale, 79-71
FORT MYERS, Fla. - Senior guard Bryce Dulin scored 20 points and senior guard Shawn Anderson added 18 as the Navy men's basketball team (5-3) earned a 79-71 win over Denver (2-4) in the Midshipmen's third and final game at the round-robin Homewood Suites Shootout on Sunday. Navy finished the Shootout with a 2-1 record after defeating St. Francis Brooklyn on Friday, 85-76, and falling to host FGCU on Saturday, 70-54.
"I'm really proud of our kids and proud of their effort," said Navy head coach Ed DeChellis. "This was a great win for us. You never know about these tournaments will play out, and I think our kids were really focused."
Navy's defense stifled Denver through the first 10 minutes of the first half in taking a 16-2 lead, and the Mids led by as many as 25 points in the second half before holding off Denver's late rally.
"We started the game really well defensively in the first half," said DeChellis. "We were as good as we have been defensively this year. Then in the second half we made some baskets and broke it open. But give Denver credit, they came back on us and made some really tough shots. But we made some free throws down the stretch and made the plays we needed to make to close out the game."
Dulin was 7-of-12 from the field and had three dunks in the contest for his second 20-point game of the season. Anderson also had a team-high five rebounds to go along with his 18 points.
Denver's junior guard Joe Rosga scored a game-high 33 points. Rosga made six 3-pointers and was 13-of-16 from the free throw line.
Navy led wire-to-wire in the contest and jumped out to a 5-0 lead after an early and-1 by Lacey, and then a steal by junior guard Hasan Abdullah led to a fastbreak dunk by Dulin. Navy held Denver without a field goal for the first 10 minutes of the game while staking a 16-2 lead.
Navy would lead by at least double-digits for the rest of the first half, and senior guard Nourse Fox swished a 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer to give Navy a 37-22 lead at the break.
Navy used a 13-3 run early in the second half keyed by dunks from Lacey and Dulin, and also a 3-pointer from Andersonm as the Mids took their largest lead of the game at 25 points (55-30) with 13:27 left in the second half.
Denver made a 15-4 run late in the second half, with Rosga scoring 10 of the points during the spurt, to cut Navy's lead to nine points at 74-65. Abdullah made a big jumper to swing momentum back to Navy, while Anderson went 3-of-4 at the free throw line and Abdullah went 2-of-4 in the last 41 seconds to help seal the win for Navy.
Navy made 15 straight free throws to start the game and finished the contest 24-of-29 at the line for a percentage of 82.8.
Navy did a good job against Denver's 6-foot-10 senior center Daniel Amigo, who entered the game averaging 19.0 points and 9.2 rebounds. Navy drew two fouls on Amigo in the first 3:30 of the game and the big man played just six minutes in the first half, scoring 0 points and 0 rebounds. Amigo would later foul out with 3:11 left in the second half and finish with six points and two rebounds in 12 minutes.
Navy pressured Denver into 19 turnovers, which the Mids turned into 23 points.
Navy improved to 15-0 over the last two seasons when scoring at least 70 points. The Mids also improve to 3-0 all-time against Denver.
Dulin was named to the Homewood Suites FGCU Shootout All-Tournament Team along with Christian Terrell of FGCU (MVP), Zach Johnson of FGCU, Daniel Amigo of Denver and Rasheem Dunn of St. Francis Brooklyn.
After playing six of its last seven games away from home, the Mids will return to Annapolis to host Delaware on Friday evening and then Morgan State on Sunday afternoon.