Loyola Edges Navy in Patriot League Opener
BALTIMORE, Md. - The Navy men’s basketball team (9-5, 0-1) fell at Loyola (3-9, 1-0), 72-63, in its Patriot League opener at Reitz Arena on Friday evening. The game was tied at 58-58 with four minutes remaining, but Loyola was able to close out the contest down the stretch.
Loyola shot 60 percent from the field in the game (27-of-45) and outrebounded Navy, 25-21. Navy shot 51 percent from the field (24-of-47), but was just 9-of-17 at the free throw line (53 percent).
“Defensively, we started the game very poorly,” said Navy head coach Ed DeChellis. “We did a good job to fight back and we had a four-point lead in the second half. But we kept making mistake after mistake. We are a team that has to play great defense and we have to rebound the ball. They outrebounded us and we didn’t play great defense, and so we got beat.”
Junior point guard Hasan Abdullah led Navy with 16 points in a season-high 36 minutes. Abdullah was 6-of-9 from the floor and he also tallied three assists and two steals.
Navy senior guard Shawn Anderson battled through first-half foul trouble to finish with 14 points, while senior guard Bryce Dulin was a third Midshipman to score in double figures with 10. Sophomore center Evan Wieck tallied nine points with a season-high seven rebounds, but was also limited by foul trouble in his 23 minutes.
Loyola senior guard Andre Walker scored a game-high 18 points, with 12 coming in the second half. Sophomore guard Chuck Champion tallied 17 points, while freshman guard Isaiah Hart scored 16.
Loyola had a fast start to the contest, making its first six shots in taking a 14-7 lead. Loyola took its biggest lead of the half at eight points at 16-8, but the Mids rallied back with layups by Abdullah and Wieck. Later in the half, junior guard Ryan Pearson dished to Wieck for a layup inside and then a steal by Abdullah led to a fastbreak layup by Dulin, which cut Loyola’s lead to 23-22.
Another layup by Abdullah and then a short jumper at the end of the shot clock by Dulin kept Navy within reach, and then freshman forward Tyler Riemersma found Abdullah for a 3-pointer on the left wing to give Navy its first lead of the game at 31-29 with 1:37 left in the opening half. Two free throws by Loyola’s Walker sent the teams to the locker room tied at 31-31.
Navy had the fast start in the second half as Abdullah and Kiernan hit early 3-pointers to prompt a Loyola timeout after Navy went ahead at 37-33. Loyola regained the lead after five straight points by Champion, but Navy countered back as Wieck converted an and-1 and then a layup by Anderson put the Mids ahead by four at 44-40.
The game stayed tight and Anderson would later make a tough shot through traffic at the end of the shot clock for a 49-47 lead and Navy freshman guard Cam Davis hit a long 3-pointer to put the visitors ahead by three at 52-49 with eight minutes remaining.
Loyola regained the lead once again, but a 3-pointer by Dulin put the Mids ahead at 55-53. Hart would soon after score layups on back-to-back possessions to give Loyola a 58-55 advantage.
Anderson made one free throw to cut the margin to two points, and on Navy’s next possession he finished a tough shot at the rim and Loyola was called for a foul on the play. However, Anderson was given a technical foul after celebrating the basket, and Walker made a pair of free throws to instead give Loyola a lead it would not relinquish.
Navy was unable to get enough defensive stops and Loyola made 3-of-4 free throws before Cam Gregory punctuated the Loyola win with a dunk with 18 seconds left.
Loyola snapped Navy’s six-game winning streak in the series. Navy senior starting forward Tom Lacey missed the game with an injury. Lacey had played in 79 consecutive games dating back to his freshman season before Friday’s contest.
Navy will next host Lehigh on Tuesday at 7 PM in Alumni Hall. Lehigh opened conference play with a 79-74 win at Lafayette on Friday evening.
“We have Lehigh Tuesday,” said DeChellis. “We’ll practice tomorrow, Sunday, Monday, and try to get better. We have to get better on the ball-screen defense. Lehigh’s guards are very fast and very athletic and they play some of the same kind of action we saw tonight.”