Men’s Basketball Takes Down Navy In Patriot League Opener
BALTIMORE - Andre Walker scored seven-straight Loyola University Maryland points during a 14-5 Greyhounds run to close the game, and Loyola defeated the U.S. Naval Academy 72-63 in the teams’ Patriot League opener Friday night in Reitz Arena.
Navy (9-5 overall, 0-1 Patriot League) tied the score at 58-58 on a driving layup by Shawn Anderson, but he was whistled for a taunting technical foul after the basket. Andre Walker, who led all players with 18 points for the Greyhounds, hit both technical-foul free throws, and while Anderson converted a free throw for a 3-point play, the series sparked the Greyhounds in the final minutes.
Walker’s free throws on the technical foul were his first of seven-straight points he scored for Loyola (3-9, 1-0). He scored in the paint and was fouled, making the free throw at 3:03 before he converted again in the lane with 2:09 on the clock.
After a Navy 3-point attempt went short with just under two to play, Walker broke down the defense at the top of the perimeter and slipped a pass to Sam Norton on the baseline for a basket underneath to stretch the Greyhounds’ lead to 67-61 with 1:34 on the clock.
Norton tallied a career-high nine points and matched his career-best with a team-high five rebounds.
Hasan Abdullah made two free throws for the Midshipmen with 78 seconds left, making it a four-point game, but Isaiah Hart hit the back-end of two free throws with 51 ticks left for Loyola.
The Greyhounds forced a missed three on Navy’s offensive trip, and Walker hit a pair of free throws with just over 31 seconds left, stretching the advantage to seven. Cam Gregory sealed the game with a dunk in the final seconds for Loyola.
Loyola shot 60 percent from the field in the game, its best field-goal percentage since it shot 60.4 percent in a January 17, 2013 win over Marist College. The Greyhounds made 14 of 22 shots (63.6 percent) in the second half after going into the locker room knotted at 31-31.
Chuck Champion converted on seven of his 10 shots, scoring 17 points, while Hart was 6 of 9 for 16 points.
The Greyhounds made their first six shots of the game, pulling out to a 14-7 advantage on Hart’s second three of the contest. They stretched the lead to 18-10 on a Gregory layup at 11:20 and held a 23-16 advantage on a basket by Champion at 9:27.
Navy, however, scored six-straight points and were within one, 23-22, on a Bryce Dulin basket at 7:41. The contest remained a one-possession game for the remainder of the first half with Navy going up a pair on an Abdullah three at 1:37.
The Midshipmen went up by four three times in the first seven minutes of the second half, but the Greyhounds would not let them pull ahead more. Neither team led by more than three for more than 10 minutes until Loyola pulled away in the final three.
Abdullah paced Navy with 16 points, while Anderson had 14 and Dulin scored 10.
Loyola had a 25-21 advantage on the boards, and they gave up just one rebound to the Midshipmen in the final nine-plus minutes of the contest. Friday’s win snapped a six-game winning streak for Navy against the Greyhounds.
The Greyhounds continue Patriot League action on Tuesday, January 2, when they take on the U.S. Military Academy in a 7 p.m. game in West Point, New York.