From start, Navy is left in Bucknell's wake, 68-61 Mids' win streak at home ends at 4

January 24, 1993|By Bob Clark | Bob Clark,Contributing Writer

Battling from an early deficit throughout, Navy could not quite pull even with Bucknell, and its four-game home winning streak ended yesterday with a 68-61 loss before 2,448 fans at Alumni Hall.

The victory for the Bison (10-4 overall) was their fifth straight and improved their Patriot League record to 5-0. Navy is 5-9 overall and 3-2 in the league.

Some sloppy early play and a tenacious Bucknell defense put Navy in an early hole from which it could not climb out.

"I thought Bucknell was a little more prepared for the game from the outset," Navy coach Don DeVoe said. "And I take the blame for that. Basically the first seven minutes of the game set the tone," DeVoe said. "We never got in sync on offense."

The Midshipmen fell behind 12-1 after six minutes. During that time Navy had six turnovers and missed its first seven field-goal tries while Bucknell broke a 1-1 tie with an 11-point run.

"We hit some of our early shots to put us on top," Bucknell coach Charley Woollum said.

"But this was as tough a basketball game as we've had to play. Navy's getting better and better every time you see them."

A three-pointer by freshman Billy Butler, 6:50 into the game, was the first Navy field goal.

But that started a short spurt that pulled Navy to 20-15 with a little more than eight minutes left in the first half.

The Bison, however, with senior point guard Russell Peyton (17 points) scoring six of the 10 points in the run that took less than two minutes, took control by increasing its lead to 30-15. Bucknell then increased its lead to 35-19, its largest lead of the game, with two minutes left in the half.

Navy managed to close that deficit to 37-28 at halftime as senior Michael Burd came off the bench to make two three-pointers, the second coming as time ran out.

The Mids shot 36 percent (8-for-22) from the field, and 52 percent from the foul line (9-for-17) in the first half and turned the ball over 10 times. But the Mids were still in the hunt.

In the second half, DeVoe started seniors John Haase and Burd, who had played well in the later stages of the first half, and it was Haase who played a vital role in Navy's comeback attempt, scoring 10 of his 12 points.

Navy pulled to four twice in the second half and trailed 63-58 after a three-pointer from Thomas Jenkins with a little more than one minute to play.

But Peyton and his backcourt mate Chris Simpson (21 points) took control in the vital stages and combined for five free throws in the final 69 seconds.

"Their guards are really smart, and they anticipate extremely well," DeVoe said. "Today we just couldn't rise to the level of the league champions."

Yesterday's game was Navy's last this season at Alumni Hall. The remainder of its home games this season will be played at Halsey Field House.

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