ANNAPOLIS, MD - Siena outscored the Navy men's basketball team, 7-2, in overtime after Navy rallied late in regulation to hand the Midshipmen their first loss of the season, 54-49.
The loss drops Navy's record to 1-1 overall, while Siena improved to 1-1.
"It was a great, competitive game and both teams played extremely hard. We just couldn't make a shot in overtime. We are an improving basketball team, but we have to understand that we can't take possessions off," said Navy head coach Ed DeChellis. "Every possession is critical. If we start to understand that and start playing every possession, we are going to win some games. We are evolving as we go. There were some positives for our side."
Navy trailed 47-41 with just a minute to play in regulation on a pair of Evan Hymes free throws to give the Saints a six-point cushion. However, Freshman guard Tilman Dunbar(Fairfax, Va.) hit a pair of lay-ups sandwiched around an offensive foul on Hymes to cut the lead to 47-45 with 32 seconds left.
After forcing another turnover on the ensuing inbounds pass, Dunbar found fellow freshman Jerome Alexander (Radford, Va.) open at the top of the key for a 19-foot jumper that tied the game at 47. The Mids withstood a late Ryan Oliver three-point attempt to send the game into overtime.
"Tilman made two great plays before that, enabling us to get to that point. I was just the outlet and he found me and I made the shot. I just wanted to give my team the chance to compete for more time," said Alexander.
Isaiah Roberts (Jr. / Pennsauken, N.J.) gave Navy a 48-47 cushion with 2:04 to play, but O.D. Anosike scored on a putback on the Saints' next possession and Siena made five-of-six free throws in the final 50 seconds for the final margin.
Navy was 0-of-8 from the field in the overtime session, including a possession where it grabbed two offensive rebounds and ran a minute and 38 seconds off the clock.
"They were guarding us exactly the same as regulation. We got the shots we wanted, but we just didn't connect. They all came in the flow of offense. They just didn't fall today, but we're confident they will fall next time," said Dunbar.
Navy led 23-21 at halftime after a see-saw first half that saw seven lead changes and two ties, with Navy holding the half's largest lead at 14-10 with 9:50 to play. Navy came out of the locker room with a 6-2 spurt to grab a 29-23 lead with 18:15 left on Thurgood Wynn's (Jr. / Bethesda, Md.) second three-pointer of the contest.
However, Siena quickly tied the game at 29 as part of a 15-2 run over seven minutes to take a 38-31 advantage with 11:03 to play. Navy would chip away behind Dunbar, who scored 10 of Navy's last 14 points in regulation, to knot the game at 47.
Dunbar (10) and Alexander (4) would score Navy's last 14 points of regulation over the last nine minutes.
"I was seeing that we were getting a little stagnant, so I just wanted to attack and help the team anyway I could. The big man was leaving me a bit off the ball screen and it gave me a chance to get to the basket," said Dunbar.
"Tilman's a good point guard. He is really calm with the ball and can break the defense down. He can get to the basket which lets him create and kick to other guys. He is really confident with the ball," said DeChellis. "I thought our point guard play in general has been much better. Brennan Wyatt has gotten better and made two big shots in the first half. He is playing confident right now and the competition has really helped him out, too."
Navy shot just 20-of-61 (.328) from the field, including 10-of-37 (.270) in the second half and overtime after shooting 10-of-24 (.417) in the first half. Navy was 4-of-20 (.200) from three-point range and just 5-of-10 (.500) from three-point range. Navy was outrebounded, 48-39, and was guilty of just 10 turnovers, including only three in the second half and overtime and none in the last 15 minutes of the contest.
Siena was 18-of-55 (.327) from the field, 3-of-25 (.120) from three-point range and 15-of-22 (.682) from the free throw line. Siena was guilty of 14 turnovers.
Dunbar led Navy with 13 points on 6-of-13 shooting with five assists and two steals against one turnover in 35 minutes of action. He had 11 points and three assists in the second half and overtime. Alexander, Roberts and Wynn each added eight points. Brandon Venturini (So. / Allendale, Mich.) added 10 rebounds, five assists and two steals.
O.D. Anosike added 17 points on 6-of-7 shooting and 12 rebounds. Anosike led the country a year ago in rebounding and double-doubles and is averaging 13.5 points per game and 14.5 rebounds per game so far this year. Rob Poole added 10 points and nine rebounds while playing all 45 minutes.
"We tried to make it hard on Anosike, but he is so physical and active. He was the leading rebounder and double-double man in the country last year and we tried to get it out of his hands and make others beat us," said DeChellis. "I thought we played OK defensively. I thought we played hard and that is what we are trying to get to."
Navy will close out its season-opening three-game homestand on Wednesday, when it hosts Binghamton at 7:00 PM at Alumni Hall. Live video and stats will be provided on NavySports.com.