Navy breezes to final, 88-64

Barker, Williams help doom Bucknell in Patriot tourney

March 05, 2001|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

All season, the Navy men's basketball team has performed in fits and starts, neither winning nor losing more than four games in a row.

But with the Patriot League tournament at hand, the Midshipmen are looking a lot like the squad that was touted as an NCAA contender as they advanced to the championship game yesterday with an 88-64 rout of a young Bucknell team.

Second-seeded Navy (19-11) will receive a third opportunity to beat regular-season titlist Holy Cross when it visits Worcester, Mass., Friday for a nationally televised 4:30 p.m. showdown. The Crusaders eliminated Lehigh in the second semifinal, 69-57.

Navy remained unbeaten in tournament games at Alumni Hall (9-0) and raised its home record against Bucknell to 23-3 by bolting away midway through the second half, when three-point specialist Kyle Barker got hot from the outside and All-Patriot forward Chris Williams began to flourish off the post.

With the Midshipmen ahead 54-41, Barker and Chris Williams accounted for 29 consecutive Navy points, outscoring the entire Bison team by nine to seal the victory. Both finished with 23 points after combining for four in the opening-round win over Army.

"We had a nice cushion but couldn't break open the game until Kyle Barker and Chris Williams got it going," said Navy coach Don DeVoe. "They both did a phenomenal job of taking the shots they take best. Kyle shot three-pointers like they were free throws, and Chris is excellent with his back to the basket."

Barker, who once scored 50 points in a JV game, equaled his career high, and Williams bounced back mightily after being held to single digits in scoring for just the second time this season.

"I knew with their zone I was going to be able to get a lot of open shots," Barker said. "Sometimes, it gets to the point where I don't really think about it - I just shoot it."

Said Williams: "I might have had a few tournament jitters yesterday. But this is a different team now than in the past. We don't need one guy to score 20 points to win. Someone else can step in and score."

Bucknell (14-15), with only one senior who makes significant contributions, relies heavily on freshmen and sophomores. Navy's experience and depth were major advantages.

"We certainly had our chances, but as the second half went on, we just got worn down," Bison coach Pat Flannery said. "When a team runs three and four guys at you at one position, eventually you get tired."

All-Patriot guard Bryan Bailey and Boakai Lalugba each scored 14 points for Bucknell, both reaching double figures for the 25th time. But the Bison couldn't contend with Navy in rebounding (38-28 deficit) and never led after Bailey's three-pointer made it 14-13.

"There weren't many opportunities for Bucknell to get open shots," DeVoe said. "And they're not as experienced as us."

Navy reached the Patriot League tournament final for the sixth time in the past eight seasons. At home, the Midshipmen are 3-0; on the road, they are 0-2.

"It doesn't matter who we play in the final or where it is," Williams said. "The loss in the final last year is a little motivation, but this is a different team with different players. We'll be focused."

BUCKNELL - Ramage 2-7 2-2 7, Lalugba 6-13 2-6 14, Werner 4-9 4-4 12, Blankenship 1-3 0-2 2, Bailey 3-8 7-9 14, Nyambi 0-0 0-0 0, Seek 0-0 0-2 0, Santos 1-1 0-0 2, Webber 0-1 0-0 0, Quinn 1-3 2-2 4, Rodgers 0-1 0-0 0, Slater 1-2 4-4 6, Hardenbaugh 0-1 1-2 1, Bennett 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 20-50 22-33 64.

NAVY - C. Williams 10-15 3-3 23, Reeder 3-4 1-7 7, Cunningham 4-5 1-1 9, Skipworth 1-2 0-0 2, J. Williams 2-4 0-0 4, Jeanpierre 2-5 0-0 5, Lewis 0-3 2-2 2, Shepard 1-3 4-4 7, Ebong 1-3 1-4 4, McCreary 0-0 0-0 0, Long 0-1 0-0 0, Moore 0-0 0-0 0, Hill 11-2 1-1 3, Barker 7-10 4-4 23, Higgins 0-0 0-1 2. Totals 32-57 17-27 88. Halftime-Navy 36-25. 3-point goals-Bucknell 2-7 (Bailey 1-2, Ramage 1-4, Quinn 0-1), Navy 7-16 (Barker 5-7, Shepard 1-1, Jeanpierre 1-3, J. Williams 0-1, C. Williams 0-2). Rebounds - Bucknell 28 (Lalugba 7), Navy 38 (C. Williams 6). Assists- Bucknell 12 (Bailey 4), Navy 17 (J. Williams, C. Williams 3). Total fouls-Bucknell 21, Navy 26. A-1,362.

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