Navy rolls past Rice to capture opener Unheralded John Williams scores 23 in 78-61 romp

November 17, 1998|By Alan Goldstein | Alan Goldstein,SUN STAFF

Navy coach Don DeVoe knew pretty much what to expect from returning senior center Josh Williams, a solid rebounder, and sophomore forward Chris Williams, a late bloomer in last season's second straight Patriot League championship run.

But it was a third Williams -- home-grown sophomore forward John Williams who provided the big surprise in Navy's 78-61 opening-game rout of Rice at Alumni Hall last night.

Lightly played as a plebe last season, the Annapolis native who prepped at Broadneck High scored 17 of his 23 points in the second half when the Midshipmen broke away from a 43-43 tie to grab a 63-47 lead with 7: 45 left.

Rice, handicapped by showing up with only two able-bodied subs, could not draw closer than 11 the rest of the way.

DeVoe was almost gushing over the coming-out party of John Williams, who scored a total of 28 points last season. A former Ohio Stater, DeVoe even went so far as to compare his sophomore to former Buckeyes and Boston Celtics great John Havlicek.

For at least one game, Havlicek could not have done any better. John Williams made eight of nine shots, all five free throws and added five rebounds in his 32-minute performance.

"I got a year under my belt, and I feel a lot more comfortable now," said the rawboned 6-foot-6 forward.

"I played and practiced with most of these guys, and we also played in a lot of pick-up games this summer. Tonight, things just happened, and I was motivated by having my grandparents from Alabama in the stands."

Added DeVoe: "His all-out hustle set the tone in the first half, and then he started scoring. He was really focused."

John Williams took over with the score tied at 43. He started Navy's spree by hitting a jumper and then converted a steal. After a free throw by sophomore point guard Reggie Skipworth (10 points, 10 assists), Williams hit a pair of three-pointers.

The short-handed Owls, who had crushed Texas Pan-American, 80-40, in their opener, simply ran out of steam. Only a 26-point outburst by senior guard Robert Johnson kept it from being a total rout.

Skipworth, making his first start at the point, was solid running the show with only three turnovers in 35 minutes.

RICE -- Armstrong 2-7 1-1 6, Johnson 7-18 9-13 26, Wilks 1-9 0-0 2, Michaelis 3-11 3-4 9, Skaer 2-10 0-2 5, Holmes 0-3 0-0 0, Bougaieff 5-10 3-5 13. Totals 20-68 16-25 61.

NAVY -- Ch. Williams 5-10 3-3 13, Reeder 2-4 2-2 6, Josh Williams 4-8 2-2 10, Skipworth 2-6 4-6 10, Victor 5-7 5-6 15, Murray 0-0 1-2 1, Worthling 0-1 0-0 0, Lewis 0-0 0-0 0, Shepard 0-0 0-0 0, John Williams 8-9 5-5 23, Toton 0-1 0-2 0, Cunningham 0-1 0-0 0, Hill 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 26-48 22-28 78.

Halftime--Navy 36-33. 3-point goals--Rice 5-21 (Johnson 3-9, Skaer 1-5, Armstrong 1-3, Holmes 0-3, Wilks 0-1), Navy 4-7 (John Williams 2-3, Skipworth 2-3, Worthing 0-1). Fouled out--Reeder. Rebounds--Rice 40 (Bougaieff 12), Navy 35 (Victor 12). Assists--Rice 8 (Wilks 4), Navy 17 (Skipworth 10). Total fouls--Rice 19, Navy 22. A--1,403.

Pub Date: 11/17/98

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