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The Cavaliers struggled through an unexpectedly tough battle with Navy, which at one point it appeared they could actually lose. Ultimately, they prevailed when Kihei Clark and Braxton Key ignited a 12-0 run largely in transition. "Get out in transition" was not one of StLouHoo's Keys to Getting the Win, which were:

1) Defend the glass.

2) Don't bail them out with fouls.

3) Go hard to the rim.

Navy came in as the #260 team in Kenpom, with the second-slowest tempo (guess who is slowest) and #291 offense, and they hung 56 points on the Cavaliers. Where they did rank top 100 was in offensive rebounding percentage, free throw rate and 2-point defensive field goal percentage. Those were the things that informed StLou's preview, and they were factors in this game.

1) Defend the glass.

The Hoos were outrebounded in the first half 14-11, and finished up with a slight advantage on the boards, 28-26. Navy grabbed 8/31 offensive rebounds, for a little over 25%, which was below their average on the season. Virginia tightened up late, as Mamadi Diakite and Jay Huff helped Braxton Key secure the boards after Navy's 15-3 run spanning the half. The rebounding effort in the first half was a D, while the second half got better.

Grade: C+

2) Don't bail them out with fouls.

The Midshipmen went to the line more often than Virginia's opponents usually do, but their 14 free throws were still well under their season average, with a 28% FTr that was almost ten percent below their season average. Navy showed good marksmanship from that range, hitting 11. The free throws were instrumental in hanging in the game at the few times when the Hoos appeared on the verge of taking control. Center Evan Weick drew fouls with his post play. As with the defensive rebounding, Navy's free throws almost hurt, but ultimately the fleet came up short.

Grade: C+

3) Go hard to the rim.

Virginia took 40% of its shots from the three-point line, below Navy's defensive average, but more than the Hoos wanted. The zone had a lot to do with that. The only way Virginia got to the rim was in transition, as Navy's zone befuddled the Cavaliers and their post doubles goaded Diakite into multiple turnovers. The Hoos shot only 10 free throws, two of those being of the intentional variety (good job by Casey to knock down both ends of the 1-and-1 when a miss would have potentially given Navy a little life), and grabbed a mere 5 offensive rebounds (although three of those were spectacular slam follows). For most of the game, Virginia was passive offensively.

Grade: C-

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Navy (Basketball(M), December 29, 2019)