Lafayette outplays ragged Navy, 72-66

Sloppy ball-handling, 33 turnovers sink Mids

January 10, 1999|By Phil Jackman | Phil Jackman,SUN STAFF

The wonder is that Navy made its basketball game against Lafayette so close yesterday considering the horrendous manner in which it performed for long stretches.

"That was the worst basketball I've seen since " said Navy's top scorer, Chris Williams (27), not bothering to finish the thought after the host Midshipmen had bowed, 72-66, in the Patriot League game.

Ahead 8-4 after three minutes of play, Navy (12-4, 1-1) was outscored 16-0 over the next seven minutes. Four straight times down the court, the Mids didn't get a shot as what would become a game total of 33 turnovers began to mount.

Despite the drought and 21 turnovers in the first 20 minutes, the home team led at halftime, 36-32.

"What do we have to do to win here?" Lafayette coach Fran O'Hanlon thought to himself, recalling the Patriot League title game he lost here last March. "But I felt confident even while we trailed because of the way we were playing."

And the way Navy wasn't.

"Quite frankly, I'm surprised this game wasn't won by a bigger margin by Lafayette," said Mids coach Don DeVoe. "There was a time late when they had a chance to lay a big hurt on us. But then they got down to the earthy play we had going."

Moments into the second half, Navy held a 42-37 advantage -- and then absolutely everything began to go wrong. Over the next 10 minutes, it was outscored 22-4. Thing is, the Mids weren't even getting shots at the basket, so ragged was their ball-handling and dribbling against Lafayette's zone defense.

"We're not a good ball-handling team," said DeVoe, "but we probably outdid ourselves today."

Brian Ehlers, Lafayette's top all-around player, led his team with 22 points, but it was an opportune trio of three-pointers popped by Tim Bieg and inside work by Ted Cole that kept the Leopards (9-4, 1-0) in control once they assumed command.

Cole, scoreless in the first half, finished with 10 points on 4-for-6 shooting over the last 20 minutes. "I wasn't getting good position inside in the first half," he said.

Cole established his territory on the post, allowing Lafayette's 6-foot-11 beanpole sophomore Frank Barr to maneuver -- and he took advantage with 10 points.

"We knew we were going to battle on the boards and we did that," said O'Hanlon. "Another important aspect was keeping Navy from getting out on the break and using its athleticism. We did a good job there, too."

Actually, as DeVoe said, the game should not have been anywhere near as close as the final score indicates. "The one blessing about the game and this day is it will soon be over," said the coach.

LAFAYETTE -- Harms 1-2 0-0 2, Whitfield 0-3 1-2 1, Cole 4-8 2-5 10, Bieg 5-9 0-0 13, Ehlers 7-14 7-10 22, Homer 0-3 2-2 2, Burke 0-2 0-0 0, Guy 0-2 4-4 4, Klaus 2-3 3-5 8, Butler 0-0 0-0 0, Barr 3-6 4-6 10. Totals 22-52 23-34 72.

NAVY -- C.Williams 6-13 12-13 27, Savane 6-8 2-4 14, Josh Williams 2-3 1-1 5, Skipworth 2-5 0-0 5, Victor 4-10 2-2 10, John Williams 0-3 0-0 0, Reeder 1-5 1-2 3, Worthing 0-4 2-4 2, Hill 0-2 0-0 0, Murray 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-53 20-26 66.

Halftime--N 36-32. 3-point goals--L 5-15 (Bieg 3-6, Ehlers 1-2, Klaus 1-1, Burke 0-1, Guy 0-1, Whitfield 0-2, Homer 0-2); N 4-18 (C.Williams 3-3, Skipworth 1-4, Victor 0-5, Worthing 0-4, John Williams 0-1, Reeder 0-1). Rebounds--L 27 (Cole 6); N 45 (Reeder 8). Assists--L 12 (Whitfield, Bieg 3); N 14 (Skipworth 6). Technical foul--Lafayette coach O'Hanlon. Total fouls--L 20; N 25. A--2,903.

Pub Date: 1/10/99

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