Wake still big problem, Navy finds in 67-43 loss 7-1 Woods, cold shooting leave Mids short in opener

November 18, 1997|By John Dell | John Dell,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Tim Duncan isn't around anymore for Wake Forest, but Navy found out that the Demon Deacons still have some talent at that position.

Navy's cold shooting and the inside presence of 7-foot-1 center Loren Woods were too much as the Midshipmen lost their opening game, 67-43, last night.

The Demon Deacons used a pressure defense that had the Mids scrambling for points.

Adding to the problems for Navy coach Don DeVoe was early foul trouble.

Woods managed 17 points and five rebounds to go along with five blocked shots to lead the Demon Deacons. Four players took turns guarding the bigger player, but it was to no avail.

"We had no answer for their inside game," said DeVoe, who watched his team suffer through nearly a seven-minute scoring drought in the first half.

"Their success came in their ability to get the ball inside to Loren Woods," DeVoe said. "We had to foul him a lot and he did a nice job in making the free throws."

With forward Hassan Booker and guard Skip Victor in foul trouble, DeVoe was forced to shuffle the lineup midway in the first half. The Mids then went cold from the field and never recovered.

The Mids cut into the Deacons' 31-17 halftime lead and trailed only 31-22 early in the second half. But Woods sparked a 13-5 run over the next three minutes to put Wake in command, 44-27.

Navy failed to get a player in double figures as reserve Matt Sladky scored nine points, all in the second half. Michael Heary, the team's returning top scorer, never got into the flow and scored just eight points on 3-for-12 shooting.

"Their pressure is what did it to us," Booker said. "I think that was the turning point there when we had trouble scoring in the first half. Their pressure forced our offense to start way out top, and against a good team with an inside player like they have, you can't do that."

The Mids, who held a 4-1 series lead over the Deacons entering the game but hadn't played them since 1971, shot only 29 percent (7-for-24) from the field in the first 20 minutes.

Coach Dave Odom of Wake Forest said: "This game was played the way that I thought it would be. Navy made it very difficult for us to score and they played a very physical defensive style."

Despite the rough opener, Booker was optimistic.

"This was a litmus test for us because I know we will get better," the senior forward said.

Pub Date: 11/18/97

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