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Navy Upsets Holy Cross: Boards, Boards, and More Boards

Hasan Abdullah Led the Mids in a Defensive Affair

NCAA Basketball: Navy at Miami Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Navy defeated the visiting Crusaders of Holy Cross by just 2 points in Alumni Hall on Sunday afternoon.

Holy Cross was favored by seven points in the game, and for good reason; they were 10-4 on the season and on a three game winning streak, including two on the road. The defensive-minded Midshipmen, however, were not intimidated by the Crusaders who still have the best overall record in the Patriot League.

The score was tied at the half with 26 apiece; and the second half was equally as back-and-forth, but a Hasan Abdullah jumper with 1 second remaining in the game put the Mids on top to finish 50-48. Abdullah led both squads with 15 points on the afternoon, including going 4-6 from behind the arc. Navy made it closer than it needed to be by going just 3-9 from the line as a squad; while Holy Cross went 7-9 as a team.

The most impressive stat of the day definitely lay in team rebounds. Navy absolutely dominated Holy Cross on the boards, nearly doubling them up by a final tally of 47-27 in favor of the Midshipmen. Navy only allowed three offensive rebound to the Crusaders, effectively wiping out any opportunities for second chance baskets.

It was an all-around team effort for Navy, with 10 of the 11 Mids who saw action today collecting at least one rebound. Abdullah missed out on a double-double by just one board. Navy was able to exploit a pretty glaring weakness for Holy Cross; the Mids are number 3 in the Patriot League in turnover margin, and the Crusaders are dead last.

We talked about this matchup in our weekly Service Academy Basketball Update last week. I pointed out that while Holy Cross dominated Navy across the board in terms of statistics, the Mids had a significant edge in rebounds.

Navy is now 2-0 in the Patriot League and 5-8 overall. The Mids will face a tough American team on the road later this week that just lost to Colgate; they also play host to Boston University next weekend.