Wake is too much for game Navy, 87-65

Midshipmen hang tough before wearing down

January 08, 2002|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

Navy received its annual lesson in the power of Atlantic Coast Conference basketball last night at Alumni Hall.

The Midshipmen played with conviction and purpose, but couldn't match Wake Forest's raw ability, shooting prowess and athleticism.

Final: Wake Forest 87, Navy 65.

The victory was the seventh in eight games for the Demon Deacons, who are seasoned and talented and will make trouble for Duke and Maryland.

Navy (5-10) hung within 58-47 with 9:50 remaining before Wake pulled away.

Darius Songaila started the streak with a conventional three-point play during a period in which the Midshipmen were red hot from the field.

Then, three-point specialists Craig Dawson and freshman Taron Downey sank four long-range bombs in a row while Navy settled for jump shots.

When the Midshipmen cooled off, Wake Forest pulled away to an 81-57 advantage, primarily at the free-throw line.

Dawson finished with 21 points, all on three-pointers, to lead Wake Forest (12-3). Jehiel Lewis led the Midshipmen with 14 points.

Navy's 22-point deficit was actually an improvment from their past three meetings, when the Deacons won by an average of almost 30 points.

The loss was only the second in seven home games for the Midshipmen, who had averaged 89.3 points in their previous three games.

With the entire brigade in attendance for the first time this season and the television cameras whirring, the 19th-ranked Demon Deacons overcame a 1-for-15 shooting stretch to capture a 37-25 halftime lead.

Wake never trailed in the half, racing ahead quickly 23-9 and showing no letdown after handing North Carolina its worst loss ever in the Dean Dome last Saturday.

At this point, coach Skip Prosser inserted the second team and the Midshipmen took advantage of the change in personnel.

Navy scored the next six points and pulled to within seven on a three-pointer by Jamie Nero before the rally fizzled.

The Deacons' second unit did not score from the floor and the starters had a hard time regaining their momentum when they re-entered. A three-pointer by Dawson marked the team's only field goal for an eight-minute stretch.

Forward Josh Howard led the Deacons with 12 points and six rebounds during the half and Songaila added nine points and 10 rebounds, all on the defensive board.

Wake took command of the backboards late in the half as it vied to equal its longest winning streak of the season (four).

The Midshipmen again suffered because of poor shooting. sinking only eight of 38 from the field and three of 13 from beyong the are.

Prosser and DeVoe had met only once before with the former leading Loyola College to victory in 1994, the year the Greyhounds made the NCAA tournament field.

Navy has not beaten Wake Forest since 1972.

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