Cooper helps Navy stifle Army, 71-47

February 03, 1994|By Steven Kivinski | Steven Kivinski,Special to The Sun

Navy forward Wes Cooper didn't have to be reminded about his assignment in last night's contest with Army.

Cooper has gone toe-to-toe with Army's David Ardayfio the past couple of seasons, and Ardayfio always has managed to get his points.

That all came to halt last night, as did Ardayfio's streak of 28 games scoring in double figures. Navy held the senior forward to six points in its 71-47 victory before 3,601 at Alumni Hall.

"I knew I had to step up and play a strong game because he's a great player and he's very strong inside," said Cooper, who finished with 10 points and seven rebounds. "I was really keyed up to play him, and I'm happy with the way things turned out."

So was Navy coach Don DeVoe.

"The second half was the best 20 minutes of basketball we have played since I've been here and it's really a tribute to the players for putting it all together both offensively and defensively," said DeVoe. "The game in the second half epitomized what I would like to see in Navy basketball. We were very focused on our shooting and we were relentless with our defense."

A 16-2 run enabled the Midshipmen to take a 44-26 lead with 14:08 remaining. From there, the Mids poured it on and led 50-29 following Randy Torgrimson's fourth three-pointer.

The two teams resembled their records -- Navy is 8-11 overall, 3-4 in the Patriot League, and the loss dropped Army to 4-13, 2-5 -- in the early going. They combined for six points in the opening six minutes. Navy broke out of the slump first and took a 9-2 lead following a three-pointer by Torgrimson and a short jumper by Hamilton.

Senior guard Victor Mickel, who entered the game eighth on Navy's career steals list with 104, picked up two more on consecutive Army possessions midway through the first quarter. Mickel gave the ball right back when he was hit with a charging foul after his first steal, but his second steal set up a Torgrimson three-pointer that gave the Mids a 15-5 lead.

The Cadets crept back into the game and pulled to within 17-16 with 5:24 left in the half.

The Midshipmen, who swept last year's series against the Cadets, returned the lead to five on a pair of free throws by Larry Green and led by five at the half, 27-22.

"Coach DeVoe deserves a lot of credit for the adjustments he made at halftime," said Army first-year coach Dino Gaudio, whose team has lost 26 straight on the road. "Navy's defense did a great job on us and their kids played harder than us and that's my fault."When they had to turn it up a notch, they did.

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