"To be honest, it didn't surprise me," said first-year Navy head coach Billy Lange. "On tape, I felt like they were the best team we've faced all year. They are a great team. They have five guys who can pass, dribble, shoot and they have great toughness on the defensive side of the floor.
"Our kids couldn't sustain focus as things started going against us. This team isn't 3-6 because of talent, it's approach and intensity. In the second half, they willed the tempo and we lost our focus."
After Gettysburg jumped out to a 12-3 lead three minutes into the first half, Navy went on a 24-7 run over the next 10 minutes to take an eight-point, 27-19 lead on a Laramie Mergerson (Duncanville, Texas) layup.
The Bullets, though, put together a rally of their own which included a pair of Ryan Page three-pointers and knotted the game at 33 with 2:05 to play.
Mergerson gave the Mids a three-point lead after an old-fashioned three-point play, but reserve guard Matt Whelan connected on a pair of free throws to narrow the lead to one with 1:15 to play before the half. Navy senior forward George O'Garro (Panorama, Calif.) was fouled by Mike Beck with 57 seconds to play and made both free throws to give Navy a 38-35 lead at the break.
Navy opened the second half on a 14-2 run with Mergerson and junior guard David Hooper (Dale City, Va.) accounting for 12 of the 14 points and the Mids owned their largest lead of the contest at 15 points (52-37).
Twenty seconds later, a pair of Mike Spadafora free throws triggered a 17-0 run by the Bullets which started at 10:47 and was capped at 7:28 by a Kyle Jakobe layup. Jakobe's bucket gave Gettysburg its first lead since the 11:58 mark in the first half when the Bullets owned a 14-13 advantage.
Over the next five minutes, the lead changed hands seven times and was tied five times. Gettysburg took the lead for good on a Spadafora free throw with 2:20 to play.
Spadafora led all scorers with 26 points which included 11 from the free throw line. He added a team-best eight rebounds for the Bullets. Page, meanwhile, scored 14 on 5-for-8 shooting from the field, including three triples.
Mergerson led Navy with 16 points and grabbed three steals. He shot 60 percent (6 for 10) from the field. Freshman guard Corey Johnson (Anderson, Ind.) turned in 12 points and just missed a double-double with a career-high nine boards.
Navy shot 92.9 percent (13-14) from the free throw line in the first half, but in the second half it was a much different story. The Mids made just five of their 13 free throws (.385).
Navy returns to action Tuesday evening when it travels to Emmitsburg, Md., to face Mount St. Mary's in the Mids' final contest before the holiday break. Action is set to tip at 7 p.m. at Knott Arena.