Wake overpowers Navy in 90-55 win

Midshipmen fall to 0-2, suffer worst home loss

November 23, 1999|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

The last time an Atlantic Coast Conference men's basketball team visited Annapolis, Alumni Hall wasn't even a vision. Virginia played at Halsey Field House in 1973, handing Navy a 16-point defeat.

Things didn't improve over time or in a new arena. Wake Forest came calling last night, took a quick eight-point lead, and raced to a 90-55 victory over the Midshipmen before 4,218 fans.

The Demon Deacons (2-0) simply had too much inside strength, talent and firepower for Navy (0-2), which couldn't rebound from an opening-game, overtime defeat to Rice on the road.

It was the most lopsided home defeat in Navy history, beating by one a 34-point loss to Rutgers on Feb. 14, 1967.

Sophomore Jehiel Lewis scored 12 points in the first half to keep the Midshipmen reasonably close until the final two minutes before the break, when Wake unleashed a 9-0 run for a 46-29 advantage.

Navy didn't come closer than 15 after the break and was beaten for good when the Deacons tore away from a 54-39 lead to score 13 more unanswered points.

Wake Forest is a veteran team loaded with four starters and 11 lettermen from last season's National Invitation Tournament squad and is expected to contend for the ACC regular-season championship. The Deacons crushed Campbell, 87-45, in their opener.

"Wake is an extremely advanced team," said Navy coach Don DeVoe. "I can't imagine many that can do more things than they can. If they're really clicking, they're going to hurt people. They didn't show any signs of weakness and really schooled us."

The Deacons soared in front by 39 points (87-48) with 2: 12 remaining and then finished by clearing their bench.

DeVoe said Wake Forest found its comfort level about six or seven minutes into the game and never let up.

"There was a little bit of nervousness with everybody," said Lewis, who finished with 15 points. "But they were just a pretty good team. We struggled and they capitalized."

The Deacons shot 60 percent, with Robert O'Kelley leading the pack with 20 points and Craig Dawson contributing 17 off the bench.

"O'Kelley blitzes by everybody and creates so much," said DeVoe. "He's a great basketball player."

"We're not a demolition derby-type team," said Deacons coach Dave Odom. "We don't take people apart in two or three minutes. It takes us awhile, but I like it that way. We had 40 minutes of pressure and focus."

Odom was pleased that his team responded so well to its first road test and said "we're kind of falling into place."

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