Navy ousts Bucknell, gains Patriot final 80-61 triumph ensures date with Lafayette

March 02, 1998|By Alan Goldstein | Alan Goldstein,SUN STAFF

Navy won a basketball game and a fight at Alumni Hall yesterday, whipping Bucknell, 80-61, to advance to the Patriot League final.

The Midshipmen (18-10), who are trying for their second straight trip to the NCAA tournament, will play host to the title game against Lafayette Thursday afternoon. The Leopards (19-8) fought off a furious rally to edge Colgate, 83-77, for their 10th straight victory.

Playing a physical game and riding a career-high 16 points from lightly played senior guard Ryan Lookabill, Navy jumped to a 53-33 halftime lead over Bucknell.

But in the next five minutes, things got out of hand as the game began to resemble a tag-team wrestling match.

With 15: 38 left and Navy ahead 53-39, Bucknell senior guard J. R. Holden, an all-conference pick, got in a scuffle with Navy co-captain Michael Heary.

Holden, who had carried the Bison offense with 16 points in the first half, was visibly frustrated after running into a bruising pick by Navy's muscular senior forward, Hassan Booker.

As Heary dribbled upcourt, Holden bumped him three times. Heary responded with a shove of his own, turned to walk away, only to be shoved by Holden again.

When the officials sorted it out, Heary got a technical, but Holden drew a technical and an ejection.

Said umpire Reggie Greenwood, "Holden kept coming after Heary, and that's why he was ejected."

Bucknell (13-15, 8-4) made its best run minus its top scorer. While Navy went scoreless for six minutes, the Bison closed to 58-49. But they were ultimately overcome by fatigue and 27 turnovers.

Junior guard Skip Victor (18 points) sparked a 14-0 spurt with three layups to boost Navy's lead to 72-49, and all that was left for Bucknell coach Pat Flannery were his post-fight comments.

"We had extended so much energy and played so hard to get back in the game, we were totally spent," said Flannery. "If you can stop some of that stuff early, all that banging and bumping, you can stay with them. Otherwise they just keep running new guys at you, and their depth wears you down.

"They try to intimidate you. I'm proud that my guys stood their ground. Maybe that's the silver lining. But the bottom line is we lost."

Flannery took exception to Holden's quick dismissal.

"For an ejection of this magnitude with 15 minutes to go to arguably the best player in the league, how much gall can you have?"

Understandably, Navy coach Don DeVoe and his players had a different perspective.

Said DeVoe: "Two weeks ago, they took us to the cleaners at Bucknell [88-60]. My guys wanted to redeem themselves and were focused on every possession. There is a real rivalry developing between these schools."

For the second straight game, DeVoe got little production from his two leading scorers, Heary and Booker, who combined for eight points. But DeVoe kept finding someone new to fill the void.

This time, it was Lookabill, plebe Chris Williams (14 points, six rebounds) and rejuvenated senior forward Matt Sladky (12 points, three steals) who stepped it up.

Said Lookabill, who had a previous career high of eight points: "I've felt more confident lately. I got to start the last two games. As soon as my first shot went in, I had some open looks at the basket and got in a groove. But in my wildest dreams, I never thought I'd have a game like this one."

BUCKNELL -- Karavanic 3-7 6-6 13, Muckle 1-4 1-2 3, Bowen 0-3 0-0 0, Holden 8-15 3-3 20, Gilliard 4-7 2-4 12, Ramage 1-4 0-0 3, Nyambi 0-0 0-0 0, Callahan 1-7 1-2 4, Wetzel 0-1 0-0 0, Cameron 2-2 1-7 5, McBride 0-0 0-0 0, Skyrm 0-0 1-2 1, Asbury 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 20-51 15-26 61.

NAVY -- Sladky 4-8 2-2 12, Booker 1-5 1-2 3, Josh Williams 1-4 2-3 4, Heary 1-5 3-3 5, Victor 6-11 4-4 18, Lookabill 3-7 8-9 16, Hickmon 0-1 0-0 0, Schuknecht 0-0 0-0 0, Smith 0-0 0-2 0, Skipworth 0-0 0-0 0, Savane 3-9 0-1 6, C. Williams 4-7 6-6 14, John Williams 1-1 0-0 2, Reeder 0-1 0-0 0, Height 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 24-59 26-32.

Halftime -- Navy 53, Bucknell 33. 3-point goals-- Bucknell 6-15 (Gilliard 2-3, Asbury 1-2, Holden 1-3, Karavanic 1-3, Callahan 1-4), Navy 6-13 (Lookabill 2-3, Sladky 2-3, Victor 2-4, C. Williams 0-1, Heary 0-2). Technical fouls-- Holden (ejected), Karavanic, Heary. Fouled out -- None. Rebounds -- Bucknell 38 (Muckle 8), Navy 38 (Booker 7). Assists-- Bucknell 6 (Holden 3), Navy 12 (Josh Williams 3)). Total fouls -- Bucknell 27, Navy 23. A--2,240.

Patriot men's tournament

At Annapolis

Saturday's first round

Navy 79, Army 52

Bucknell 60, Holy Cross 56

Colgate 84, Lehigh 83

Yesterday's semifinals

Navy 80, Bucknell 61

Lafayette 83, Colgate 77

Thursday's championship

Lafayette at Navy, 4 p.m.

Pub Date: 3/02/98

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