ANNAPOLIS -- Navy had no reason to expect such an outburst from Holy Cross' Roger Breslin. After all, hadn't he been scoreless in the first half?
Breslin more than compensated for it in the second half with a career-high 18 points to lead Holy Cross to an 85-80 Patriot League victory over Navy yesterday before 1,627 in Alumni Hall. It was the Crusaders' sixth straight win and eighth in their past nine games.
"Breslin was the difference, no question," Navy coach Pete Herrmann said. "He made huge shots, all from the perimeter, all in the second half, all big."
Asked what he fed his junior point guard from Oradell, N.J., at halftime to prompt such an eruption, Holy Cross coach George Blaney said: "They were sagging on us inside in the second half, so Roger had to respond and shoot from the outside. That's the hardest kind of pressure. That's a heck of a half for a player to have on the road."
Navy, which has lost three of its past five, was in position to win the game until almost the end. The Mids overcame a 42-35 halftime deficit to tie it at 64 on John Haase's three-pointer from the right side with 7 minutes, 51 seconds left.
Breslin and Rick Mashburn, who led Holy Cross with 23 points, then combined to give the Crusaders a five-point edge with 5:26 remaining. Navy never got closer than three after that.
"If we can beat a veteran team like Loyola, like we did last week, we can do it against anybody," said Haase, whose 22 points led Navy. "We're not overmatched and we don't get run out of games. We hold our own until the last six minutes."
"That's the million-dollar question," Haase s said. "We take shots we never take in practice. Maybe it's the pressure. Maybe it's because we're a young team. We're looking for answers. It's frustrating."
Herrmann said: "We played well in the last six minutes against Loyola and won, same against Drexel. Holy Cross is good now because they're playing together with confidence. Our guys sometimes act unsure if this is the shot they should take. They've got to take the shots they take day in and day out."
In the first half, Holy Cross scored 14 straight for a 17-point advantage with 5:05 left, only to have Navy pull within 42-35 at intermission.
"We got careless with the ball, made some bad passes, missed '' some layups," Blaney said. "When you allow an opponent to sense it's a game, then, hey, it is a game."
Holy Cross co-captain Leon Dickerson, a Cardinal Gibbons grad, scored eight, making all three of his shots from the field and both free throws. He is a starter, but played only 21 minutes yesterday.
"He had a cold," Blaney said. "He had trouble breathing and was a couple seconds late. He had trouble getting from place to place."
Next for Holy Cross is Army, Tuesday at West Point.
"Playing Navy and Army back-to-back on the road is un-American," Blaney said in mock protest. "I looked it up. No one has ever had to do that before."
Navy entertains Lehigh Wednesday in another Patriot League game.