J. Williams hits jackpot, scores 32 as Navy rolls Career high leads Mids to 88-66 win over Lehigh

January 15, 1998|By Christian Ewell | Christian Ewell,SUN STAFF

After turning in the top scoring performance by a Navy player this season, center Josh Williams was laughing when asked if he thought he'd ever score 32 points.

"Well, I've dreamed of it," the 6-foot-11 junior said, wearing the goofy look usually reserved for lottery winners. "It happened tonight. There was a lot of good team play; I didn't think it would happen tonight, to tell you the truth."

Thirty-two points -- a career high for Williams in last night's 88-66 win over Lehigh at Alumni Hall -- occasionally does that to a man.

Particularly one who came into the game averaging less than four points per game and whose greatest concern was catching the ball, let alone shooting.

Williams' performance -- including 10 rebounds and six blocks -- helped Navy run its record to 8-7, 3-0 in the Patriot League. Lehigh fell to 5-10, 0-3.

"This was Josh Williams' night in terms of him dominating from both an offensive and defensive standpoint," Navy Coach Don DeVoe said. "He's starting to gain more confidence; no doubt he's made a difference in all three of our Patriot League wins."

Williams had a hunch he could have a big game, as Lafayette's Stefan Ciosici did with 36 points against Lehigh last week.

Against a team with no starter taller than 6-6, Williams knew he should prepare to score.

"I saw the tape of Stefan Ciosici taking the ball inside and basically turning around and just dropping the ball in the bucket," Williams said. "That's pretty much what I did."

Williams started fast, and so did Navy. Williams contributed five of Navy's first nine points as the team established a seven-point lead in the first three minutes.

Williams' fast-break lay-in with 15: 32 left in the first half put Navy ahead 13- 4. With 13: 14 left in the half, he had already scored 13 points, matching his career high, and Navy was up 23-7.

Led by Williams, Michael Heary and Skip Victor, the Midshipmen scored 19 unanswered points, leaving Lehigh behind 32-7 with 11: 12 left in the first half.

It was 40-13 with 8: 52 left as Lehigh waited for its star, Brett Eppehimer, to warm up. Eppehimer came into the game as the nation's third-leading scorer, averaging 25.7 points per game.

He got his points, making eight of his 15 shots. But Navy guard Victor made sure that Eppehimer's shots were well-earned.

Pub Date: 1/15/98

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