Navy swamps Coast Guard, 84-51 Defense shines, but coach says offense needs work

November 23, 1996|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

Navy was expected to win big against Division III Coast Guard Academy last night. The Midshipmen did, 84-51, in the season opener for both teams.

But they also showed they can't continue to rely on their defense to create most of their scoring.

Before 2,631 fans at Alumni Hall, Navy had little trouble running away from its fellow academy, unleashing a 19-4 streak that took its lead to 36-17 and resolved any doubt about the outcome.

The surge was fueled by Navy defensive pressure, which forced the Bears into 11 turnovers in eight minutes.

"Our defense has always been good," said junior Hassan Booker, who scored eight points in the decisive run. "We got a lot of steals and that got us going on offense.

"But with Towson State [tomorrow], we're going to have to come out strong right away. We threw too many turnovers early tonight."

The undersized Bears kept pace for 10 minutes before Matt Sladky scored off a turnover to launch Navy's run.

Then, Booker took over with two layups after steals, a jumper from the key and two free throws before Coast Guard ended a 4: 10 scoring drought with a three-pointer by Shad Thomas.

Navy scored the final six points of the first half for a 22-point advantage and was never ahead by fewer than 18 the rest of the game.

"I was impressed with Navy's quickness. They extended the floor very well," said Bears coach Pete Barry. "But a lot of our deficiencies showed up."

Coast Guard was 15-10 last season and lost three starters.

"Everyone expects us to win a game like this by a big margin," said Navy coach Don DeVoe. "But we got by in this game by creating a lot of points from our defense. I would like us to have a more balanced attack."

Booker finished with 12 points, seven rebounds and five steals to lead the Midshipmen. Sladky and Michael Green had 10 points each on a night when every Midshipman played and 13 scored.

However, the real story in the numbers came down to this: 36 Coast Guard turnovers, 20 Navy steals and only 42 Bears shots.

"Where our points are going to come from besides our defense and press is a big-time worry," said DeVoe. "When we're playing five-on-five, we have to be able to score more effectively."

Navy lost its starting center, Josh Williams, by halftime to a scratched cornea. Whether he plays at Towson is questionable.

"That hurt us because he was feeling pretty good," DeVoe said. "He was showing discipline on his blocked shots [six]."

COAST GUARD -- Morrison 3-4 0-0 7, Murphy 2-8 0-1 5, Thomas 2-4 2-2 9, Lavergheta 0-10-0 0, Keel 1-3 3-10 5, Dodd 0-2 1-2 1, Ray 2-6 2-4 8, Canady 0-2 2-2 2, Keane 1-4 2-2 5, McKeever 3-6 3-5 9. Totals 14-42 16-30 51.

NAVY -- Hickman 4-5 1-2 9, Walker 2-5 0-0 4, Schuknight 0-5 0-0 0, Wall 2-4 1-1 6, Sladky 4-5 2-3 10, Smith 2-4 1-2 7, Williams 2-3 0-0 4, Henry 3-8 2-2 8, Victor 2-5 0-0 4, Height 2-8 2-2 6, Booker 5-7 0-0 12, Green 5-7 0-0 10, Floyd 0-1 2-2 2, Lookingill 0-2 2-2 2. Totals 33-74 15-18 84.

Halftime-- Navy 42-20. Rebounds-- Coast Guard 37 (Ray 8), Navy 43 (Booker 7). Assists-- Coast Guard 9 (Ray 2), Navy 19 (Walker 3, Floyd 3). A-- 2,631.

Pub Date: 11/23/96

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