At halftime last night, Navy was 4-for-21 from three-point range and shooting a modest 41.5 percent from the field.
But that didn't stop the long shots from flying toward the basket and, eventually, the Midshipmen routed Towson State in its own building.
With its new up-tempo offense clicking, Navy proved more proficient at track-meet basketball, running away from the Tigers, 102-88, at the Towson Center.
Senior guard Erik Harris led the onslaught with a career-high 38 points, and the Middies never trailed in the second half after Chuck Lightening scored the first basket for a 43-42 Tigers lead.
"I haven't scored that much since high school," said Harris, "and then I think the high was 33. This must be my lucky month."
Towson coach Terry Truax said, "Harris drove past not only his own man, but our whole team a number of times."
The Tigers (2-3) had lost at home only once in the past two seasons (to Bucknell) and were 25-3 at home the past three years before last night.
But they had no remedy for the Navy buzz saw, which applied constant pressure at both ends of the court, even while playing a zone defense.
"I'm happy we had 21 three-pointers [attempts] at the half," said Navy coach Pete Herrmann. "We want our kids to shoot confidently, without any hesitation.
"I like what I've seen all along from this system. We just haven't been consistent. We've got to force physical pressure on the other team the whole game."
Truax thought the Middies had "a lot of motivation. Regretfully, it didn't seem to be there for us. Nobody has scored 102 points on us except Syracuse and North Carolina. I guess that puts Navy in pretty good company."
Navy (2-3) saw one victory slip away in the Mazda Gator Bowl tournament against host Jacksonville, 84-82, when the clock didn't start for several seconds and should have expired before the Dolphins hit the winning shot.
"That was pretty tough to take," said Herrmann.
But there was no residue as Navy kept firing away in subsequent games, raising its scoring average to 96.4 points against Towson.
"Coach told us toward the summer that we were going to run this offense," said Harris. "I didn't believe it. We all joked about it.
"But we think it's great because you don't have to think too much. Basically, you get yourself in shape and then hustle. I feel real comfortable."
Herrmann said he changed from the patterned offense because "I just thought we had more depth, 10 or 11 guys who could play."
The Tigers rallied three times to within seven points through the stretch, but a three-pointer by Lance Reinhard stopped one surge, and Harris hit a three-pointer to end another bid.
"Maybe we had a false sense of security about playing at the Towson Center," said Truax. "It was simple. They played harder and outplayed us. We didn't play smart basketball through the stretch, and I do expect Towson State to play better defense. I promise you we will."
Navy's other senior leader, forward Eddie Reddick, contributed 21 points and nine rebounds, and Lightening fought a virtually single-handed battle to keep Towson in contention at the end. He finished with a career-high 27 points and grabbed nine rebounds.
NOTES: The Tiger Club is sponsoring a bus trip to the Syracuse game at the Hersheypark Arena Dec. 20. Cost is $30 per person or $15 if a fan has already purchased a game ticket. For more information, call 830-3284.