Navy lost an absolute heartbreaker on Saturday as Army made one play more than the Mids to snap Navy’s five game win streak in the series. Navy was ahead for the entire second half until Kyle Wilson tied the game on a three pointer with just eight seconds left in regulation. Navy was an agent of its own demise as the Mids took hold of the game by pushing the basketball up the floor on fast breaks and getting easy baskets, before seemingly settling for a more mundane, half-court game after establishing the lead. Navy must now rally and at least split its remaining two games in order to enter the Patriot League Tournament with some momentum.
Here is a look back at where it went wrong for the Mids:
1. Stop Kevin Ferguson getting his double-double – Fail
Kevin Ferguson has become an absolute machine for Army as this season has progressed. After putting up a career high 25 points last Wednesday night against Holy Cross, Ferguson put up a career high in rebounds against Navy with 19. He also poured in 22 points on 8-14 from the field, including the game winning tip-in at the buzzer at the end of the second overtime period. The 22 and 19 night was Ferguson’s sixth straight double-double and his contest with Will Kelly, who had 11 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks was as good of a big man battle as there was in the country on Saturday afternoon.
2. Better perimeter defense – Fail
Navy was better at stopping the three-point shot in this game, but the one three that really mattered Army hit through Kyle Wilson to take the game to overtime. After giving up 54-percent from behind the arc over their last the home games, Navy held Army to 11-of-27 from three-point range, just better than 40-percent. This number is still too high for a Navy squad that is built on its defense and Tanner Plomb in particular was able to keep Army in the game and spark runs as he personally went 5-of-9 from long range.
3. Look to Tilman Dunbar – Pass
Navy may have lost the game, but they at least did so while letting their best player dictate what happened on the final possession each time they had a chance to win. Tilman Dunbar had a short bank shot roll off of the front edge of the rim at the end of regulation and then had a desperation shot off of a drive into the lane blocked at the end of the first overtime period. On the day Dunbar has 16 points and an impressive 7-to-2 assist to turnover performance, but his 5-of-20 from the field was not enough to lead the Mids to victory. His biggest miss was on a free throw with 18 seconds to play that would have made it a two possession game at the time. Dunbar however was stull the dynamo Navy needed him to be and he almost willed a victory for his team out of this game.