Navy's second-half run helps beat Army, 73-66 Mids discover shooting touch

January 10, 1993|By Bob Clark | Bob Clark,Contributing Writer

It didn't matter that the two teams had won just two of their previous 17 games.

This was Army-Navy. And yesterday at Alumni Hall, the Midshipmen turned in their top performance of what had been a dismal early season, toppling the Cadets, 73-66, with some strong inside play in the second half to improve to 2-8 overall and 1-0 in the Patriot League.

"It was a pretty typical rival game," said Navy coach Don DeVoe, who won his first home game at Annapolis. "Both teams kept hanging tough, and our inside play was more consistent than it's been in any game this season."

The Midshipmen got an early second-half spark from sophomore forward Wes Cooper (16 points), who broke a 32-32 tie with three baskets in a 50-second spurt.

That began a 13-0 Navy run while the Mids defense shut out Army for more than four minutes. Driving layups after steals that resulted in three-point plays for Victor Mickel and Chuck Robinson helped build a 45-32 lead less than five minutes into the second half.

"A little change of tempo on defense really helped us," DeVoe said. "The steals were a real important part."

Freshman forward James Norris, who scored a career-high 17 points and had six rebounds, and freshman center Alex Kohnen, who came off the bench for eight points and three blocks, were dominant inside throughout the second half.

"This is what Army-Navy is all about," Norris said. "It'll be great back in the dorm. Hopefully, this win will be like throwing gasoline on a fire. Maybe we'll go on from here."

Navy finished with 25-for-47 shooting for 53 percent, easily its highest of the season.

Army cut into the Navy lead in the closing minutes, pulling to four points on two occasions. But Navy responded at the foul line to preserve the victory.

In the opening half, Cadets freshman Mark Lueking, who led all scorers with 20 points, sparked an early Army lead, hitting his first three field-goal attempts and five of his first six, as Army led 19-13 midway in the half.

Navy, trailing 24-19 with just more than five minutes left in the first half, outscored the Cadets 13-3 in the next 4:40. Sophomore Larry Green opened the spurt with a 14-foot jumper in the lane and five other Midshipmen contributed to the run, which built a 32-27 Navy edge with 18 seconds left in the half.

In the first half, Cooper (seven points) led nine Navy scorers. The Mids, who entered the game shooting 37 percent from the field, made 12 of 24 in the first half and improved on it in the second half.

Navy is home tomorrow against Loyola College in a game that will be played at Halsey Field House.

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