NEW YORK - On a day when it officially unveiled its new, up-tempo style, Navy's basketball team matched its single-game scoring high from last season.
But the new style was the remedy for Fordham's early-season shooting woes, as the Midshipmen were routed, 103-84, in their season opener.
Fordham (1-1) had a 97-57 lead with eight minutes left in the game. Only a late burst by Navy made the final score more respectable.
Fordham, which shot 30 percent from the field in a loss to Notre Dame in the first round of the Big Apple NIT, shot 56 percent yesterday. Navy, led by 19 points from Erik Harris, shot 31 percent.
"Hey, we shot 31 percent and still got 84 points," said Navy coach Pete Herrmann. "When you do things that are new, it's going to take some time. It's going to come."
Fordham jumped out to a 10-2 lead before two three-pointers by Michael Burd (12 points) and a layup by Chuck Robinson got the Midshipmen within 12-10. But the Rams scored 11 straight points in a 20-2 run to open a 32-12 lead that put the game away early.
By halftime, Navy trailed, 53-27, as it shot 27 percent from the field.
"Fordham threw the ball over our heads and had some easy shots," Herrmann said. "We were tentative both offensively and defensively. A lot of their shots early were uncontested shots."
After falling behind, 66-35, early in the second half, Navy went on a 9-0 spurt that cut Fordham's lead to 66-44. But Damon Lopez (game-high 23 points) led a 31-13 run that put Fordham up, 97-57.
With a 40-point lead with eight minutes to go, it seemed it was only a matter of time before Fordham would score more than any other team had against Navy (Nevada-Las Vagas and Penn State each scored 104 during the 1986-87 and 1982-83 seasons, respectively). But Navy outscored Fordham, 27-6, the rest of the way for the final margin.
"We had a stronger second half - we just have to concentrate on keeping pressure on for the whole game," Herrmann said. "We were better with our pressure in the sec-ond half. (Eddie) Reddick and Harris played better and (Nick) Marusich did better - even though he didn't shoot the ball worth anything from one to two feet."
Despite the one-sided game, Navy was out-rebounded by just 53-48 and committed six fewer turnovers then Fordham. Herrmann and team members seem to feel that style that presses full-court on defense and launches quick shots on offense will payoff eventually. If it is to work, the Midshipmen will have to find some-one to help Reddick (18 points, seven rebounds) on the inside.
"It's only the second time we played someone different from ourselves," said Harris (team-high 19 points), referring to the Fordham game and Navy's 108-97 exhibition win two weeks ago over the Sparta club from Czechoslovakia. "We just got off to a shaky start. We shot poorly. Had we gotten out to a good start, we would have played a lot better."
Navy will give the hometown crowd a look at the new style tomorrow night against Mount St. Mary's before embarking on an eight-game trip that includes two tournaments.
"We will make some adjustments - Fordham had a good team and were strong against us," Herrmann said. "We'll come back Monday and go after it again. It will take some time."