Fordham outmaneuvers Navy Midshipmen falter at the end, 59-52

January 31, 1993|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,Staff Writer

They are similar teams, young, packed into the middle of the Patriot League and searching for a final identity.

So, it boiled down to execution yesterday at Halsey Field House, and Fordham was more proficient in the final minute to score a 59-52 victory over Navy.

Fordham (8-12, 5-2), the defending league champion, was ravaged by graduation and starts an entirely new team.

But the Rams outscored Navy 8-1 after John Haase's two free throws tied the score at 51 with 1:08 remaining and handed the Midshipmen their fourth loss in their past five games.

"We were just never able to get into a commanding situation," Navy coach Don DeVoe said. "The offense wasn't where it needed to be, and they were just a little bit better.

"They outmaneuvered with a little play that got them four baskets, and we never adjusted to it. And they did a decent job at the free-throw line."

Navy (5-11, 3-4) tied the score three times in the second half (at 24, 30 and 51), but was unable to wrest away the lead to exert more pressure on the Rams.

At crunch time, Fordham guard Jay Fazande made four straight free throws and 6-10 center Bobby Frain (career high 19 points) added two free throws and a layup at the buzzer for the final margin.

"Both of us are inexperienced and struggling," Rams coach Nick Macarchuk said. "So, it made for an interesting game.

"We just did a little better job defensively in the second half. But I'm impressed with the job Don has done. Navy is good on defense, too. You don't get many easy buckets against them."

It was the 19th straight victory by Fordham against a service academy and its seventh in row against Navy. Last year, the Midshipmen fell to the Rams three times -- by six, five and 18 points.

The league's No. 1 defense held Navy's Wes Cooper, who was plagued by fouls, to five shots and six points, his season low in a league game.

Freshman James Norris stepped up to keep the Midshipmen in contention with 16 points, seven rebounds, a key assist on a three-pointer by Haase and four steals.

But he missed two late free throws that could have pulled Navy even.

And the Rams' defense forced Haase into taking a two-point attempt instead of a three with the score at 55-52 and 24 seconds to go. A play here and a play there. That was the story.

"[Nick] Gianopoulos forced Haase out, and he had to dribble the ball, then take a shot," Macarchuk said.

DeVoe said the Midshipmen were unable to practice in Halsey yesterday.

They had played one previous game at the field house, where they have been forced by the school play's appearance at Alumni Hall.

"We failed to take advantage of the court," he said.

"It's difficult. We're fighting the odds. But we're in a maturation cycle, and it's slow."

The Midshipmen were out-rebounded 21-7 in the first half, but Fordham couldn't hold on to the ball (eight turnovers), and they ++ went to the break in a 22-22 tie, thanks to Victor Mickel's coast-to-coast drive to a Navy layup that was ruled before the horn.

But Navy shot only 37.5 percent in the second half, and that was not enough in this kind of game.

"We didn't get anything from our defense, no steals that allow us to get a layup," DeVoe said. "We're not there yet.

"And Fordham did a nice job of playing our three-point shooters and Cooper, who never got into any flow. They made the adjustments."

Navy has a chance to regain some ground next week with road games at Army and Lehigh, both below the Midshipmen in the standings.

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