The Navy men’s basketball team continued their impressive run as they rallied from behind to secure their sixth win in a row, defeating Loyola 65-53 in Saturday’s game at Alumni Hall in Annapolis. The victory was also the Mids’ ninth win in their last ten games.
The game was tightly contested in the first half, with neither team building a significant lead. The Mids headed into halftime with a narrow four-point lead, 28-24. However, Loyola started the second half brightly, scoring the first eight points and taking a 36-32 lead.
The Mids fought back, scoring six points in a row, four of which were from the impressive Christian Jones, to regain the lead. The game was tied at 38-38 with just under 11 minutes to go, but that was the last time Loyola would score a field goal for the next seven minutes as the Mids took control.
The Mids went on a 28-5 run, with Daniel Deaver and Jones contributing a combined 25 points to give Navy a 60-41 lead with 3:45 still to play. Loyola made a late surge to cut the lead to 60-51 with 92 seconds remaining, but Navy was able to hold on and secure the win.
Deaver was limited to just nine minutes in the first half due to two fouls, but he made up for it in the second half, scoring 14 of his 19 points after the break. Jones, who was outstanding defensively, scored 11 of his 13 points in the second half, including a crucial three-pointer.
Navy head coach Ed DeChellis was proud of his team’s performance, especially considering the challenges they faced in the lead-up to the game. “This has been a tough week for them,” DeChellis said. “Academically with six-week exams, we got home late Wednesday night, really didn’t practice Thursday, and had a one-day prep for Loyola yesterday.”
Despite those challenges, Navy was able to produce an impressive defensive performance, limiting Loyola to just 53 points and holding them to just 35 percent shooting from the floor and 26 percent from three-point range. Navy also did a good job of taking care of the ball, committing only nine turnovers.
The win also ensured that Navy will be a top-four seed in the upcoming Patriot League Tournament and will host a quarterfinal round game. With just two games remaining in the regular season, Navy will look to maintain their excellent form as they take on American on Wednesday before hosting Colgate on February 25.
DeChellis was full of praise for his team’s effort and resilience in the win over Loyola. “I was proud of our guys,” he said. “I thought Christian Jones was outstanding. I thought he was unbelievable defensively. Then, bang-bang, he rattled off three or four straight baskets, which we needed him to do, and which he can do.”
Navy’s impressive run of form has put them in a strong position as they head into the final stretch of the regular season and look to make a deep run in the Patriot League Tournament.
Patriot League Standings
1. Colgate: 15-1 (Clinched #1 seed)
2. Navy: 10-6 (swept Army)
3. Lehigh: 10-6 (was swept by Army)
4. Army: 9-7
5. Lafayette: 7-9 (3-1 vs. other 2)
6. American: 7-9 (2-1 vs. other 2)
7. Holy Cross: 7-9 (0-3 vs. other 2)
8. Boston: 6-10 (swept Loyola)
9. Loyola: 5-11
10. Bucknell: 4-12