PHILADELPHIA, Pa. -- On a night at The Palestra filled with referee-booing and intense on-court action between the Navy Midshipmen and the Penn Quakers, Navy was able to pull out a 65-59 last-minute win. The Midshipmen closed the game on a 6-0 run over the final 63 seconds after Penn tied it at 59 on a pair of Darien Nelson-Henry free throws.
The win extends Navy's win streak to seven games after their 0-2 start, as the Midshipmen now stand at 7-2 in the Patriot League. This was Penn's second-straight loss, and they fall to 4-3, still behind 4-0 Princeton in the Ivy League.
Navy jumped out to an early 15-8 lead, and extended it to 27-15 by the 7:13 mark of the first half. The Quakers were forced into 11 first-half turnovers, and due to additional foul trouble, had to sit star senior center Nelson-Henry for the majority of the period. DNH played just eight first-half minutes and the first 20 ended with Navy up 37-25.
"They played physical, yet I thought they played without fouling," said Penn coach Steve Donahue. "They do a terrific job of forcing hard shots. It definitely affected us in the first half."
The Quakers were resilient, however, sticking along for the ride as Navy continued to hold a lead of around ten points for a large chunk of the second half. Antonio Woods went on a tear around the eight-minute mark to cut the deficit to just six at 54-48 with six minutes remaining.
Jake Silpe cut the lead to four with a jumper for Penn, and a transition alley-oop from Woods to Matt Howard electrified the Quakers and cut the Navy advantage to just two. "We love to push it," said Donahue.
The last high moment came at 1:03 with Nelson-Henry's game-tying free throws, but in the end, the Midshipmen stuck it out against a Penn team that not once held a lead over the course of the full 40.
Woods had a game-high 16 on the day, 13 in the second, along with four assists to lead the Quakers. Sam Jones added 12 and DNH finished with eight points, but the Quakers racked up 18 turnovers and allowed 22 points off those giveaways; that severely crippled their chances at holding any sort of momentum in the game.
Jace Hogan led the Midshipmen with a stellar 12-point, zero-turnover performance inside off the bench, as he anchored Navy in the paint and shut down Nelson-Henry. Shawn Anderson had 11, including four in the final minute, and Tim Ambruzzo had 11, including three first-half makes from downtown.
It came down to efficiency and number of chances in this one, and with Navy attempting fourteen extra shots over Penn's 40, it didn't matter that the Quakers went 50% from the field as opposed to Navy's 44.4%.
Penn will look to bounce back from their two-game skid against George Mason on Saturday. Tipoff for that game is 6:00 PM EST.