Hamilton leaves mark in Navy rout Senior sets 3-point record in home finale vs. Wofford

February 27, 1996|By Alan Goldstein | Alan Goldstein,SUN STAFF

Seniors Jim Hamilton and Alex Kohnen, most likely playing their final home game at Alumni Hall, provided a fitting ending in leading Navy to a 73-55 victory over Wofford last night.

It would take an odd set of circumstances in the Patriot League tournament in Worcester, Mass., this weekend to give the Midshipmen another home appearance in the championship game.

Hamilton, whose performance has been markedly inconsistent this season and has led to severely diminished playing time, scored 14 points and also broke the academy's career three-point record.

By hitting four of his specialties, the 6-foot-4 swing man has 138 for his career, surpassing the mark set by guard Joe Gottschalk, who made 136 playing for the Midshipmen from 1988 to '90.

"Naturally, I had it on my mind," Hamilton said of the record, "but I think my teammates were aware of it more than I was."

Hamilton, who lost his starting job to sophomore Michael Heary this season, did not force the issue. He tied the mark early in the first half and broke it by hitting from the corner with 13:29 remaining.

By that time, the Mids (15-11), who trailed at one point 30-22, had opened a 53-36 lead and coasted to their fourth straight victory -- their longest winning streak of the season.

The 6-10 Kohnen, hardly the most graceful of centers, made his presence felt inside with six points, six rebounds and three assists, and, as he noted, "I also made the pass that led to Hamilton's record."

It was a satisfying night for Navy coach Don DeVoe, who was impressed by his team's overall performance in its final tuneup for the tournament opener against Army on Saturday afternoon.

"My philosophy was to start my two seniors and let them enjoy it," he said. "And I was really happy for the way Jim performed. He's had a difficult time this season, but he's kept his chin up and practiced hard.

"All together, I thought this was the best combination of offense and defense we've shown this season. We had a real good mix of inside and outside scoring."

Navy also got a big boost from two sophomores -- Eddie Lucas (16 points) and Hassan Booker (15 points). The duo helped the Midshipmen break the game open after Wofford's motion offense had kept the Navy defense off-balance early on to gain a 30-22 lead.

Navy took complete control from that point, with Lucas' 13 first-half points igniting a 28-4 run against the Terriers (4-21), making their debut this season in Division I.

"Lucas gave us a terrific lift the last 10 minutes of the first half, but it was our defense that really turned it around in the second half," said DeVoe.

Wofford, led by junior forward Terrence Gilyard's game-high 19 points, made only eight of 23 shots in the second half.

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