Navy falters at the end, falls to Holy Cross, 95-69

February 21, 1993|By Jerry Bembry | Jerry Bembry,Staff Writer

On the faces of the Holy Cross players, there was a "what's going on here?" look after Navy's James Norris scored on a short jumper to tie the game at 53 early in the second half. The jTC co-leaders of the Patriot League had led by 11 in the first half, only to witness a Navy comeback that got the home fans into the game.

"You could see the way they were running down court on their heels," said Navy forward Larry Green. "They were worried."

But just as in the first meeting, the Crusaders came back strong in the last part of the game, limiting Navy to two field goals in the last 7:20 on their way to a 95-69 win before 2,138 at Halsey Field House.

Navy (8-16, 5-8 in the Patriot League) lost its fourth straight despite 18 points from Green and 16 by Norris.

Holy Cross (20-5, 12-1), won its sixth straight and the 14th of 15. Guard Bill Walker scored 25 to lead five Crusaders in double figures.

"They [Navy] played forcibly and they played with a lot of heart," Holy Cross coach George Blaney said. "And that made us play badly. They attacked our pressure very well."

But it was how Holy Cross attacked at the end that turned the game around. At the 7:20 mark, Navy trailed 68-66 following a layup by Chuck Robinson. But Holy Cross tightened its pressure defense and Navy never got a good shot at the basket the rest of the way.

"We picked things up defensively," Blaney said. "We went to a strong man-to-man and kept in front of them. It was good, solid defense that pulled it out."

And, the offensive execution of Walker, who scored 15 of his game-high 25 points in the final 11 minutes. "We went to a play called 'four out and one in' where four guys are on the perimeter," Blaney said. "We went to it, and Walker made some big plays."

The 7:20 mark was also when Robinson, who was called for a charge on the basket that pulled Navy to two back, fouled out. He shot four of 12 from the field -- missing his first seven shots -- but played good defense and grabbed 10 rebounds.

Walker took Michael Burd, Robinson's replacement, into the low post and had a field day.

"We are extremely outmanned at the [small forward] position and they got inside time and time again," Navy coach Don De Voe said.

Walker, who made all seven of his second-half field-goal attempts, agreed that the game changed after Robinson departed.

"Chuck's a great athlete," Walker said. "Not so much that he hurts us offensively, but he plays good defense and does a lot for that team. Having him out of the game did help us a lot."

Navy fell behind early, missing numerous opportunities. The Midshipmen had six shots on their first possession, and missed them all. Twelve of Navy's first 13 shots were from inside the paint, and the Midshipmen missed 10 of them.

"You just can't explain the feeling," DeVoe said of Navy's early problems. "We just kept going back and failed to put the ball in the hole. It was a bad sign that the ball wasn't going in, but it was a good sign we were getting our shots."

Those shots eventually fell, getting Navy back into the game. But defense, and experience, is what helped Holy Cross take command.

"We were real confident in the second half, but the experience factor was evident throughout the contest," DeVoe said.

"Holy Cross has so many juniors and seniors and the team has won so much in the last month and a half," he said. "They really showed a lot of poise."

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