Navy drops 3rd straight in 58-52 loss to Richmond

Poor second-half shooting, turnovers prove costly

November 25, 1999|By Christian Ewell | Christian Ewell,SUN STAFF

The Navy men's basketball team lost, 58-52, to Richmond last night at Alumni Hall, suffering its third setback in as many games.

Scott Kauffman's two free throws with 2: 15 left in the second half broke a 52-52 tie for the Spiders (1-1), whose last victory over the Midshipmen (0-3) also came in Annapolis, seven years ago.

That season, Don DeVoe's first as Navy's coach, was also the last time that the team started off with three consecutive losses. After watching his team commit 28 turnovers and shoot 30 percent in the second half, the coach didn't have to look anywhere else to see why it is still winless following previous losses to Rice and Wake Forest.

"We've held two teams in the 50s, yet we haven't scored enough for us to be able to win," DeVoe said, referring to a 59-54 overtime loss to Rice last week. "The turnovers are just mind-boggling; victory always goes to the team that makes the fewest mistakes."

Chris Williams led the Midshipmen with 16 points and eight rebounds, but neither he nor his teammates could find the basket in the final minutes of a night that saw both teams combine for 37.1 percent shooting from the field.

Williams was involved in a possession that featured three Navy shots without a basket within the last 30 seconds of the game. Then, with Richmond holding a 55-52 lead, Kinte Smith blocked a three-point attempt by Jehiel Lewis that would have tied the game with about 10 seconds remaining.

John Beilein, who watched his Spiders shoot 36 percent and commit 24 turnovers, said he was simply happy to stumble back home victorious.

"We'll take this and get out of here," Beilein said.

Earlier, it seemed as if it might be Navy's game the whole way. Led by Chris and John Williams (no relation), Navy went on a 22-6 run, taking a 25-11 lead on a steal and lay-in by John Williams with 7: 50 remaining in the half.

But Richmond, which shot 31 percent for the half, began shooting better and forced Navy turnovers down the stretch. Charles Stephens and Scott Ungerer led a 14-2 run by the Spiders, tying the game at 27 on a jumper by Stephens 34.7 seconds before halftime.

A tip-in by Scott Long gave Navy the halftime lead less than five seconds before the buzzer.

Richmond opened the second half by going on a 12-4 run. Smith, Kauffman, Stevens and Ungererscored during a 5: 41 period, which ended with a 39-33 Richmond lead.

The Midshipmen were within striking distance for much of the second half.

But after a technical foul on the Navy bench with 8: 37 remaining, Richmond could have reasonably expected to extend a 45-39 lead into double digits after a shooting foul by Sitapha Savane on Tim Falconer. Instead, Falconer missed the first two of his free throws, Smith missed both of his technical shots, and when the Spiders got the ball back, they turned it over.

One minute later, Savane cut the lead to five at 46-41 on a lay-in. Then, after Greg Stevenson scored, the Mids went on an 11-4 run over 4: 32 to tie the game at 52 on a three-point play by Chris Williams, fouled by Smith with 2: 43 to play.

After Kauffman's free throws 28 seconds later, Richmond wrapped up the game with three free throws by Ungerer and one by Stevenson.

Smith led the Spiders with 13 points, and Stephens and Stevenson had 12 and 11, respectively. Savane also had 13 points for Navy.

Next for the Midshipmen is a game with Air Force on Saturday. Richmond plays host James Madison next Wednesday.

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