Navy hands Army 75-44 drubbing Margin of victory widest in series dating to 1920

January 25, 1996|By John W. Stewart | John W. Stewart,SUN STAFF

Army came into last night's Patriot League game against Navy with a road record of 3-48 over the past five years, and it didn't get any better.

The Midshipmen broke away six minutes into the game, stretched a 16-point halftime lead (35-19) to 25 halfway through the second period and wound up with a 75-44 triumph before an Alumni Hall sellout crowd of 5,710.

It was the widest margin of victory in the series, which goes back to 1920. This one supplanted the 93-63 David Robinson-led decision in the 1985-86 season. Army's point total was its second lowest since 1974 (29 games).

Navy's victory, its ninth straight over its arch-rival, boosted the Mids (9-8, 4-1) into first place in the league, after previous leader Colgate was beaten by Bucknell last night, 83-75.

Army, a rather beleaguered outfit that has been forced to play without three injured regulars (three others have left the squad since the preseason), got an indication of what kind of a night it was going to be when it had four turnovers and missed four shots before getting its first basket.

Navy, however, did not fare much better at the start.

Over the first 5:21, there were four lead changes, before a tip-in by Michael Green sent the Midshipmen ahead to stay at 11-10.

The Cadets scored only two more baskets the rest of the half, and went off trailing 35-19 after going 7-for-21 from the field. The Mids capitalized on turnovers and a slight rebound edge for 34 shots, but their marksmanship wasn't much better with 13 field goals.

By that time, Navy had nine scorers, led by sophomore Michael Heary with seven. Heary, a perimeter player, was the team's top scorer a year ago with a 13.6 average when he was the sixth man.

A starter for the first month of this season, he was replaced by Eddie Lucas nine games ago after his play fell off. He ended with 17 points last night, including 9-for-9 from the foul line, a Navy record for the series.

It was his best scoring effort since losing his starting role.

"I hope I'm untracked," he said after having had three subpar showings. "I appreciate the coaches' patience and not losing confidence in my ability. I have to work through the low points."

Navy coach Don DeVoe said: "These [Army] games are so special. I've been on both sides [13-0, including 5-0 as an assistant to Bob Knight at Army in the 1960s], and know how important it is to get a lead early. It's always physical, but we tried to keep our poise.

"We didn't play a pretty game, but we hustled. and forced a lot of turnovers (22)."

Two of the hustlers were starter Mike Green and reserve Matt Sladky, who combined defensively to limit Army's Mark Lueking -- a 17.5 scorer -- to 2-for-4 from the field and seven points.

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