WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. -- The Navy men's basketball team shot 65.5 percent in the second half to fuel a 53-point second-half effort which helped Navy cruise past a good Monmouth squad, 85-66, on Wednesday night.
The win improves Navy's record to 5-5 overall while snapping Monmouth's four-game winning streak, dropping the Hawks to 5-4 overall.
Navy trailed 48-41 with just over 14 minutes left, but connected on 15 of its last 22 field goals while making 14-of-19 free throw attempts in the second half to outrun the Hawks.
The 19-point margin was the largest for Navy in a road game since an 85-61 win over UMES on Dec. 22, 2007.
Fueling the second half run was junior Thurgood Wynn (Bethesda, Md.) and freshman Tilman Dunbar (Fairfax, Va.). The duo combined for 29 of Navy's 53 second-half points while going a combined 11-of-13 from the field and 7-of-10 from the free throw line with six assists against two turnovers.
"Coach has been preaching leadership all year from us juniors. Everyone has to step up. Loop (James Loupos) was making big plays on defense. Brennan came in and had solid minutes. It takes that type of leadership to do whatever we can to help the team whether it be scoring or playing solid defense," said Wynn. "We just got energized in the second half and everyone fed off each other. Everyone got involved and it was nice to get out of here with a double-digit win."
"I was upset at halftime and I thought we were trying to play in tuxedos, in that we didn't want to mix it up. We just didn't play well defensively," said Navy head coach Ed DeChellis. "We came out in the second half and played physical and got some loose balls and transition baskets. It all started on the defensive end."
Navy trailed 37-32 at the halftime break after Monmouth ended the first half by outscoring the Midshipmen, 28-16, in the final 13 minutes after Navy had surged to an early 16-9 advantage. Monmouth would take its largest lead at 44-35 with 17:28 to play on a Jesse Steele three-pointer when the Midshipmen started to rally.
Two free throws each by Wynn and freshman Kendall Knorr (Concord, N.C.) sandwiched around a Wynn lay-up for a quick 6-0 run cut the Monmouth lead to 48-47 with 13:27 left. After a Monmouth basket, Wynn tallied back-to-back layups to give Navy a 51-50 lead with 12:29 left.
Monmouth momentarily regained the lead on an Andrew Nicholas three-pointer, but a James Loupos (Jr. / Skillman, N.J.) basket tied the game at 53 and Worth Smith (So. / Mooresville, N.C.) gave Navy the lead for good at the 10:54 mark with a basket in the lane.
The Hawks would trim a 10-point lead to seven at 64-57, but Knorr buried a huge three-pointer with 6:44 left to push the margin back to 10, then converted a pair of free throws after a technical on Monmouth head coach King Rice, who was ejected after picking up his second technical foul late in the game, to push the cushion to 12 (69-57) with 6:17 remaining.
Navy's lead would not dip below 14 points for the remainder of the night and New Jersey native Kevin Alter (So. / Rumson, N.J.), who grew up eight miles from Monmouth and played his final high school game in Monmouth's facility, dribbled out the final 20 seconds for the Midshipmen in their 85-66 victory.
Navy's 85 points were a season-high and the most for the program since scoring 87 against Longwood on Jan. 4, 2011. Navy would outscore Monmouth, 53-29, in the second half, also the most points for Navy in a half since scoring 57 in the second half against the Lancers on the same date.
After having nine turnovers in the first half, Navy would have just three turnovers in the second half. The Midshipmen also gave up seven offensive rebounds in the first half, but just one in the second half, as the Midshipmen outscored Monmouth, 52-26, in the paint. The Midshipmen allowed no second-chance points in the second half after giving up nine in the first half.
The Midshipmen shot 65.5 percent (19-of-29) from the field in the second half, including 18-of-25 (.720) from inside the arc. Monmouth, meanwhile, shot just 9-of-23 (.391) in the final 20 minutes.
"In the locker room at halftime, we were upset. It was uncharacteristic of us to give up 37 points. We hadn't played that poorly on defense in a while," said Wynn. "We knew we had to step up our toughness and we made the adjustments to get it done. We settled in and played with a lot of energy and took the fight to them in the second half."
Navy is .500 after 10 games for the first time since the 2008-09 season (8-2).
For the contest, Navy shot 32-of-56 (.571) from the field, 3-of-13 (.231) from three-point range and 18-of-24 (.750) from the free throw line. Navy had 16 assists against 12 turnovers and outrebounded the Hawks, 34-31.
Monmouth would shoot 23-of-54 (.426) from the field, 7-of-25 (.280) from three-point range and 13-of-17 (.765) from the free throw line. The Hawks were guilty of 17 turnovers.
Monmouth entered the game forcing opponents into 23.5 turnovers per game, but Navy had just half that (12).
Dunbar led Navy with a career-high 20 points, seven assists (against three turnovers) and four rebounds while making 7-of-10 field goal attempts and 6-of-8 free throw attempts.
Wynn added a career-high 19 points on 8-of-9 shooting with five rebounds, two assists and two steals in 33 minutes.
"I thought Thurgood was all over the place tonight and had great activity. He really ran the floor and created opportunities," said DeChellis. "Tilman played the second half like we know he can. The first three, four minutes he didn't look very good at all, but he played much better in the second half. The whole team played well in the second half. We came out and played completely different from the first half. That is how we want to, and can, play."
Knorr added 14 points with three rebounds and three steals while going 8-of-8 from the free throw line.
Smith contributed 11 points with eight rebounds while freshman Will Kelly (Mount Laurel, N.J.) went 5-of-5 from the field to score 10 points with three rebounds in just 13 minutes.
Stephen Spinella led Monmouth with 16 points.
Navy will close out its three-game roadswing with a Friday night contest at Mount St. Mary's in Emmitsburg, Md. Tip-off is slated for 7:00 PM (ET).