Walker, Kohnen help Navy end 3-game slide, 64-56 Each scores 13

Rice's win streak stopped at 5

January 05, 1996|By Alan Goldstein | Alan Goldstein,SUN STAFF

DURHAM, N.H. — Come March, Navy coach Don DeVoe probably will look back on last night's 64-56 victory over Rice at Alumni Hall in Annapolis as a breakthrough game for his young team.

Led by junior point guard Brian Walker's 13 points and seven assists), the Midshipmen (5-5) stopped a three-game skid and ended the Owls' five-game winning streak. Senior center Alex Kohnen also was a force, scoring 13 points on 5-for-7 shooting.

"It may only be 1/26 of our regular season," said DeVoe, "but it was a huge win for us against a quality opponent."

After playing to a 26-26 halftime tie, Navy used a 16-2 run early in the second half that turned a 30-26 deficit into to 42-32 advantage with just under 13 minutes left.

The Mids then held off a desperate rally by the Owls (7-4), who were playing without 6-foot-11 junior Shaun Igo (leg infection), who was averaging 19.1 points and 8.3 rebounds.

Things got sticky when two free throws by J. J. Polk whittled the deficit to 57-54 with 2:22 remaining.

After Navy's Seth Schuknecht blew an easy layup, Rice scoring leader Tommy McGhee (21.2 ppg), who scored 50 points in the Owls' Spartan Classic victories last weekend, missed a short jumper.

Walker then worked free at the top of the key and hit a 10-footer with 85 seconds left.

"That shot Brian made in the elbow really won it for us," said DeVoe. "Rice had to make a defensive stop at that time, and Brian came through."

A driving shot by Polk again made it a three-point game (59-56) with 1:12 left. And the Owls had a another chance to tie after Michael Heary missed with a driving hook.

They worked the ball to McGhee, but the 6-2 senior tried to force his way around Navy defensive specialist Michael Green and lost his dribble. Rice was forced to foul, and sophomore Eddie Lucas clinched it by making two free throws with 25 seconds left.

"Green did a magnificent defensive job against McGhee," said DeVoe. "He kept him from getting good looks at the basket."

DeVoe also praised the strong inside game of Kohnen, who used his size (6-11) and bulk (265 pounds) to score 13 points before fouling out in the closing minutes.

"I wasn't going to settle for the easy shot tonight," said Kohnen. "I was trying to use my strength to get every shot within two feet of the basket."

But it was Walker who kept this one from slipping away.

"The last three or four games I've just taken it upon myself to try and make things happen," said the 5-8 guard. "If I can beat my man through the lane, I'm going to score or find someone open. Now we have to do it on a consistent basis."

Towson State 79, New Hampshire

DURHAM, N.H. -- Derrick Earl scored a career-high 14 points and had seven rebounds to lead Towson State (5-4, 1-0) over New Hampshire (1-8, 1-2) in its first North Atlantic Conference game. Scooter Alexander added 14 points.

The Tigers hit 17 of 21 free throws, 16 of 18 in the second half.

Matt Alosa led New Hampshire with 20 points.

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