Navy towers over Coast Guard Height advantage helps Mids prevail, 82-60

November 22, 1997|By Alan Goldstein | Alan Goldstein,SUN STAFF

After getting soundly beaten in its road opener by Wake Forest on Monday night, the Navy basketball team dropped down several classes for its home debut against Coast Guard Academy last night.

And this time it was the Midshipmen who enjoyed an appreciable advantage in talent and size over their Division II rivals, beating the Bears, 82-60, and allowing coach Don DeVoe to test almost his entire roster.

But it was not as easy as the final score indicated. Coast Guard, well-coached by Pete Barry, made it uncomfortably close in the first half.

Every time Navy threatened to pull away, the Bears used their aggressiveness in driving to the hole and finding the open man to stay in contention.

The Mids led 39-31 at the half, with Seth Schuknecht, Josh Height and Michael Heary combining for all but four of the points.

But Navy used a 20-8 run in the first seven minutes of the second half to gain a 59-38 cushion and was not threatened again.

But DeVoe was not fooled by the final spread.

"We've still got so much room for improvement," said DeVoe, starting his 25th year as a Division I coach. "We've got to settle down, and guys have to know their roles and then execute them."

DeVoe made it clear he is still searching for a point guard to replace Brian Walker, who served as Navy's dynamic playmaker the past four years.

Junior Skip Victor is running the offense, but DeVoe said he has not asserted himself as a floor leader.

Playing 14 ineffectual minutes last night, Victor made one of four shots and had three assists.

Said DeVoe, "Victor has to penetrate and help us get easy baskets, and he also has to show the ability to knock down some shots.

"We had a big size advantage, but even in the second half, we didn't work the ball inside to draw fouls and get in one-and-one free-throw situations. And when we did get to the line, we didn't take advantage of it," the coach said, pointing to Navy's 15-for-28 foul shooting.

But there were a few encouraging signs after the shaky opener against Wake Forest. Heary and Height, who struggled against the Deacons, regained their shooting touch against the undersized Bears.

"I was just more focused and let the offensive flow come to me," said Heary, who scored a game-high 21 points and added six rebounds. "I felt comfortable with my shot tonight."

Height, who failed to score in 15 minutes against Wake Forest and appeared tentative on offense, responded with 18 points on shooting and had a game-high 10 rebounds.

The 6-foot-9 senior was forced to carry most of the load inside after rebounding leader Hassan Booker drew two fouls in the first two minutes and sat out the rest of the first half.

"The players have to understand that if they commit silly fouls, they're going to sit," he said. "But in a game like this, it gives you an opportunity to find out about some of your new players."

Height is not new, but his playing time last season was curtailed by several painful injuries.

COAST GUARD -- Cummings 3-5 0-2 6, Ray 3-12 4-6 11, McKeever 2-4 5-99, Murphy 1-10 4-4 7, Thomas 2-7 1-2 6, Dodd 3-5 3-5 9, Canady 3-7 0-0 6, Keane 2-9 0-0 4, Hall 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 20-61 17-28 60.

NAVY -- Hickmon 0-5 0-0 0, Booker 4-4 0-0 8, Height 9-14 0-2 18, Heary 6-14 7-9 21, Victor 1-4 0-0 2, Schuknecht 5-73-6 13, Sivane 2-6 1-2 5, Sladky 1-5 1-2 4, Smith 1-2 0-2 2, Josh Williams 0-0 0-0 0, C. Williams 1-2 0-0 2, John Williams 0 -1 0-0 0, Toton 0-0 0-0 0, Reeder 2-5 2-2 6, Lookabill 0-1 1-3 1. Totals 32-70 15-28 82.

Halftime--Navy 39-31. 3-point goals--Coast Guard 3-19 (Ray 1-6, Murphy 1-7, Thomas 1-4, Canady 0-1, Keane 0-1), Navy 3-8 (Heary 2-3, Sladky 1-1, Hickmon 0-2, Smith 0-1, Lookabill 0-1). Fouled out--None. Rebounds--Coast Guard 38 (Murphy 7), Navy 53 (Height 10). Assists--Coast Guard 5 (Ray 2), Navy 21 (Sladky 5). Technical Fouls--Ray, Coast Guard bench. Total fouls--Coast Guard 19, Navy 24. A--1,865.

Pub Date: 11/22/97

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