The Mids came into this game against The Citadel with a winning record at the latest point in a season since 2008. After a 79-74 victory on Wednesday night that stat will be able to be played out for a little longer.
The Midshipmen now sit at 5-3, a record that seemed unlikely after an 0-2 start which included a blowout loss at Towson. Navy got up early on their visitors and used a 41 point first half to leave the Bulldogs needing to climb a mountain in the second period to even get back into the game. To their credit The Citadel did just that, they scored 48 points in the second half themselves, but Navy was able to score enough points down the stretch to hold on for the win.
The star for the Mids was sophomore guard Tilman Dunbar. Dunbar had a slow start to the season but he has come on big time of late and had scored in double figures in three of his last four games coming into this one. Few could have predicted he would put up a game high 28 points, however, as he took advantage of a hacking Bulldog defense to get to the line early and often finishing 14-of-17 from the stripe. That is just two less free throw makes than The Citadel had as a team.
Free throws were the key in this game as remarkably the teams were both 25-of-56 from the field. I have no idea when the last time two teams had the same amount of shots and makes in a game was, but that cannot be something that happens too often. This symmetry, plus the fact that the Bulldogs shot a better percentage from behind the arc, meant that every one of the Mids 22 free throws was huge in a highly competitive and often entertaining game.
Navy now has a ten day break before they are back in action with a visit to Bryant to take on another set of Bulldogs (a name which is far too common in the collegiate ranks by the way). If Navy continues to win at this pace, and continues to close out close games, who knows what this team could do later in the year.
Navy beats The Citadel
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