Courtesy of NavySports.com
NEW YORK, N.Y. – Led by 21 points and 12 rebounds from senior guard Shawn Anderson, the Navy men’s basketball team (9-3) rallied from an 18-point first-half deficit to win at Columbia (1-9), 73-68, on Sunday afternoon at Levien Gymnasium. Navy won its fifth straight game and its eighth in its last nine contests.
Columbia led Navy 31-13 with 6:44 left in the first half, but the Mids outscored Columbia 33-13 over the next 11 minutes and took their first lead of the game at 46-44 on senior guard Bryce Dulin’s fast-break dunk with 15:03 left in the second half.
Columbia countered right back and built its lead up to eight points at 54-46, before Navy chipped away and then held Columbia without a field goal for a span of 4:33 in taking back control of the game.
Anderson made a tough layup with 33 seconds left before junior guard Hasan Abdullah and Dulin each went 2-of-2 at the free throw line in the final seconds to keep the contest a two-score possession and help Navy eventually seal the win.
“I’m really proud of this team,” said Navy head coach Ed DeChellis. “We didn’t start the game very well today, but we made a run at the end of the first half to get it back within striking distance. We always thought that if we could keep it close and had a chance at the end, our guys would toughen up and we would figure out a way to win. We battled, we weathered the storm, and our kids made plays down the stretch to win the game.”
Anderson registered his first career double-double on Sunday. He was 7-of-16 from the floor, 1-of-2 on 3-pointers and 6-of-6 at the free throw line in scoring his 21 points. He also led Navy with four assists in his team-high 36 minutes. Through 12 games, the senior captain is leading Navy in points (157), rebounds (70), assists (39) and minutes played (374).
“I thought Shawn was outstanding today,” said DeChellis. “Hasan also played great in the second half and Evan had a career game today.”
Abdullah finished with 16 points, four rebounds, two assists and one steal. He scored 11 of his 16 points in the second half. Sophomore center Evan Wieck scored 14 points and had several key baskets during Navy’s comeback. Wieck was 7-of-7 from the field and four rebounds, three which came on the offensive end. Wieck matched his career-high of 14 points.
Navy had a slow start to the first half and the Lions took an 11-point lead at 17-6 just eight minutes into the game. Navy briefly made a run to cut the margin to 20-13 after a drive by junior guard Ryan Pearson, but Columbia answered right back with five points by sophomore guard Mike Smith. Columbia got hot from outside and its last six made field goals of the first half were all 3-pointers. Columbia used an 11-0 run to build its largest lead of the game at 31-13.
Navy closed the first half on a 9-3 run to cut the halftime margin to eight at 40-32. Wieck scored two baskets during the stretch and Abdullah swished a 3-pointer with 10 seconds left in the period.
Navy kept the momentum through halftime and opened the second half on a 6-0 run with baskets by senior forward Tom Lacey, Abdullah and Wieck. Wieck would score four more points to help close the gap and Dulin’s dunk would give Navy its first lead of the game at 46-44.
Columbia rallied right back, but Navy whittled down the margin from eight points to just one point (61-60) after Anderson made a layup followed by another 3-pointer from Abdullah. Smith would make his fourth 3-pointer of the game with 4:53 left, but Navy answered right back with a layup by Wieck, and the Mids would shut down Columbia’s offense for the next four minutes.
Abdullah knocked down a jumper to tie the game at 64-64, and then a steal by Lacey and two made free throws by Anderson gave Navy a 66-64 lead. After a Navy defensive stop, Anderson scored his tough reverse layup with 33 seconds left before Smith made two free throws for Columbia to cut Navy’s lead to 68-66 with 27 seconds remaining. Those free throws were Columbia’s first points since the 4:53 mark.
Columbia fouled Abdullah with 20 seconds left and the point guard made both of his one-and-one free throw chances. Smith drove to score to cut Navy’s lead to 70-68 and then Navy turned the ball over on the in-bounds. Smith then missed his game-tying shot and Dulin pulled down the rebounds and made two free throws with eight seconds left to push the lead back to four points.
Smith would then misfire again and Dulin grabbed another critical rebound and was fouled. Dulin made one more free throw with 0.2 seconds left for the 73-68 final score.
Smith scored a game-high 28 points for Columbia. Myles Hanson added 14 points and six rebounds, while Tai Bibbs scored 12.
After being outshot 58 percent to 46 percent in the first half, Navy outshot Columbia in the second half, 55 percent to 35 percent, and had an overall advantage in shot percentage at 51-45. Columbia shot 71 percent on 3-pointers in the first half (10-of-14), but was just 18 percent in the second half (2-of-11).
Navy outrebounded Columbia by 10 at 36-26. Navy had 11 offensive rebounds and 19 second-chance points.
Navy improved to 8-0 this season when scoring at least 70 points.
Navy’s 9-3 record is the program’s best 12-game start since opening the 2006-07 season at 9-3.
Navy will now have a 10-day break for final exams before hosting Lipscomb (6-4) on Dec. 21.
“It will be nice to get back home and to give the kids a break for their final exams,” said DeChellis. “And then we will get right back to work to get ready for Lipscomb.”