Navy soars high off the ground for school-record 71 rebounds

Mids win 9th in past 10 with 79-53 rout of Liberty

January 06, 2000|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

Navy's basketball team has been clearly on the rebound since launching the season with three straight losses, but last night it hit a record-setting gait in that department.

The Midshipmen shattered the school record with 71 rebounds, an amazing 37 of them off the offensive boards, and had little trouble routing Liberty, 79-53, at Alumni Hall for their ninth victory in the last 10 games.

Liberty, which had beaten both Richmond and Virginia Tech on the road, simply couldn't cope with Navy's superior size, desire and hustle and was never really in the game.

Again, Navy (9-4) shot poorly, sinking just 23.4 percent from the field in the first half, but played a strong game of keep-away with its board work and take-away with its floor play (the Flames had 32 turnovers). Previously the single-game team rebounding record was 63 against Long Island in 1964.

"It wasn't the prettiest game a Navy team has ever played," said coach Don DeVoe. "We didn't score like we should, but this team was relentless going to the boards. Being able to break that record means we were missing a lot of shots, but we didn't let them get many, either."

One overlooked plus was the defensive pressure applied by John Williams to Liberty's leading scorer, Carl Williams, who managed only three first-half shots and three points as the Midshipmen eased into a 30-19 lead. Williams scored 11 of his team-high 18 after Navy had iced the verdict.

Chris Williams paced the Midshipmen with 19 points, and freshman forward Francis Ebong pitched in with a big effort off the bench. Playing half the game, Ebong had a career-high 11 points and seven rebounds.

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