Drexel romps past Navy, 73-57 Dragons win 7th straight

February 09, 1993|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,Staff Writer

The theme was beach night at Halsey Field House, and the midshipmen were allowed to attend the game in suitable attire.

But the Navy basketball team ran aground to ruin the party, submitting to quicker, deeper and more talented Drexel, 73-57, in a non-league matchup before 1,018 fans.

Navy (7-12) never led against the co-leaders of the North Atlantic Conference in a lopsided game that was decided by the half.

The surprising Dragons -- picked seventh in the NAC preseason poll after losing all their starters -- were in command throughout, leading by as many as 22 points before the substitutes mopped up.

It was the seventh straight victory and ninth in 10 games for Drexel (14-5), which had not won as many consecutive games in any season since 1985-86.

Navy, which had won two in a row, made one mild run, closing to within 41-30 after trailing by 16 at the half, but the Dragons scored 12 of the next 14 and coasted home.

"I was impressed with Drexel," said Navy coach Don DeVoe. "They absolutely whipped us in every phase of the game. They're an excellent team.

"They can play together as well as anybody I've seen and remind me a great deal of Penn [a 78-58 winner over Navy in December]. They just took us apart."

The Dragons shot a season-high 54.7 percent from the field, had a 36-27 rebounding advantage and had 23 assists on 29 baskets. It was a clinical display.

Drexel placed four players in double figures, and freshman forward Malik Rose supplemented his 12 points with 10 rebounds, getting his eighth double-double in 19 career starts.

"We're getting a lot out of nine players, and when somebody's shut down, others pick it up," said Drexel coach Bill Herrion. "These kids are very unselfish.

"We definitely have great chemistry right now. Everybody says we're peaking too early, but I'd rather be where we are than lagging behind."

Herrion said he thought the Dragons' defense in the first half was the difference. Navy had difficulty getting its three-point shooters open and its inside men loose from double-teaming on the ball.

The Midshipmen upset Drexel last season, 84-71, but it was obvious quickly that there would be no repeat.

From a 6-4 score, the Dragons went on a 12-2 run and built the lead to 36-16 with crisp, effective play.

"They've got a lot of weapons," said DeVoe. "They do a great job of driving, mix in the three-pointers and inside action and going to their bread and butter [Rose].

"This team has really developed. Bill has done a nice job of putting things together."

Chuck Robinson topped Navy with 12 points. Wes Cooper, who had averaged 14.8 the past 11 games, went 3-for-10 from the field and scored six points.

Drexel finished its play against Patriot League opposition with a 5-0 record, beating Lehigh, Army, Lafayette and Fordham before Navy.

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