Courtesy of NavySports.com
ANNAPOLIS, Md. – The Navy men’s basketball team (12-6, 3-2 PL) scored the first seven points in the overtime period to outlast visiting Holy Cross (4-12, 1-4 PL), 61-56, on Thursday evening in Alumni Hall. It was Navy’s first overtime game of the 2017-18 season.
Navy junior forward George Kiernan scored a game-high 13 points with five rebounds and two steals. Senior guard Bryce Dulin tallied 10 points and five assists, while junior point guard Hasan Abdullah added 10 points with three assists. Senior forward Tom Lacey scored seven points with a season-high 12 rebounds and made a number of critical plays for the Mids at the end of the game.
Entering the overtime period tied at 48-48, Navy first got a stop defensively and then Kiernan scored inside and finished a three-point play after being fouled by a Crusader defender. Lacey drew his second offensive charge of the game and then Dulin scored on a drive from the left wing.
Freshman guard Cam Davis then stole the ball from Holy Cross’s Jacob Grandison and followed with a lefty runner for a 7-0 Navy run to open the overtime period.
Holy Cross’s Karl Charles and Kyle Copeland knocked down 3-pointers, but Kiernan and Davis both went 2-of-2 from the free throw line as Navy eventually held on for the victory.
“I’m very happy and feel very fortunate that we were able to win this game,” said Navy head coach Ed DeChellis. “I thought we were okay in the first half. We shared the ball and made some shots. In the second half, we didn’t score. We just could not make a basket. It’s hard to win when that happens. In overtime we started to make some baskets, which was fun to see.”
Navy opened the game with a 14-7 lead before the Crusaders fought back with a 7-0 run to draw even. After Holy Cross took a 20-19 lead late in the first half, Navy reeled off a 10-0 run on the strength of two 3-pointers by Abdullah. A late 3-pointer by Copeland stopped the run and sent Navy into halftime with a 29-23 edge.
Navy came out cold in the second half as the Crusaders started the period with an 8-0 run and held Navy scoreless until Davis hit a jumper at the 13-minute mark. The teams went back-and-forth in the low scoring second half and Holy Cross led 36-35 with under seven minutes remaining.
Dulin was fouled and after making the first attempt, he missed the second, but Lacey was there to tip-in the offensive rebound to put Navy ahead 38-36. After a 3-pointer by Grandison, Lacey made both ends of a one-and-one free throw opportunity to put Navy ahead 42-41. He would later make two more free throws to put Navy ahead at 44-43 and then Lacey fouled out Holy Cross’s Jehyve Floyd by standing tall and drawing an offensive charge. Floyd entered the game as Holy Cross’s leading scorer and rebounder this season.
On the following possession, Dulin dished to Abdullah for a 3-pointer and a four-point Navy lead. Holy Cross’s Austin Butler scored a layup on his team’s next possession and then Holy Cross got a defensive stop. Holy Cross had the ball for an inbounds pass under its own basket, and Lacey made a steal on the pass and was fouled, making one-of-two free throws for a 3-point lead, which Navy would need as Patrick Benzan converted an and-1 play on the next trip down the court to tie the game at 48-48.
Navy couldn’t convert on its next possession and then Holy Cross had the ball with a chance to win it at the buzzer, but Abdullah stole the ball from Benzan and then Navy quickly called timeout with three seconds left. Navy had two chances for the game-winner at the end of regulation, but could not convert as the game went on to overtime.
Neither team shot the ball well on Thursday as Navy was 18-of-46 from the field (39 percent) and Holy Cross was 19-of-50 (38 percent). Navy was aided by going 19-of-25 at the free throw line (78 percent).
Navy outrebounded Holy Cross, 34-29.
Charles led Holy Cross with 10 points, while Butler, Copeland and Grandison each scored nine. Grandison also had nine rebounds and five assists for the Crusaders.
Navy improved to 7-1 at home overall this season and 3-0 in Patriot League games played in Alumni Hall.
Navy will next host rival Army West Point on Sunday at 2:30 PM. The Army-Navy men’s game will follow the Army-Navy women’s basketball contest at 12 noon. Both games will be televised on CBS Sports Network.