Quick, sharp Lafayette leaves Navy behind, 92-79

Leopards shoot nearly 80 percent from field in 2nd-half dominance

January 24, 2002|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

Navy's basketball team relearned last night that nothing can be taken for granted in the Patriot League.

Outhustled and certainly outshot, the Midshipmen watched a three-game winning streak come crashing down at Alumni Hall as Lafayette scored a 92-79 victory before 2,242 fans.

The Leopards used crisp passing and backdoor cuts to produce 40 points in the paint, most of them on layups, and the fourth-best field-goal percentage ever recorded against Navy.

Lafayette (9-9, 3-2) hit 78.3 percent from the field in the second half to finish at 68 percent for the game.

"This [Navy] team has had a real problem trying to stop people," said Navy coach Don DeVoe. "They [Lafayette] do a great job of running their motion offense and we gave up layup after layup.

"They passed the ball extremely well and we weren't able to generate any offense from our defense. We're 8-12 because we haven't played good defense."

Navy (8-12, 3-2) fought its way back from a 20-4 deficit created by 1-for-8 shooting and seven turnovers and eased into a 40-40 halftime tie, chiefly because Kyle Barker came off the bench and hit four three-pointers.

There was no repeat in the second half after Lafayette sped to a 56-42 lead while the Midshipmen again struggled with their shooting and ballhandling.

Senior Brian Burke, perhaps the top passer in the league, guided the Leopards with 11 assists and hit one turnaround three-pointer from the corner just before the 35-second clock expired that gave Lafayette a 16-point edge with five minutes left.

"He's the best passer I'll ever play with," said Leopards forward Mike Farrell, who had a team-high 22 points. "All you have to do is cut and the ball is there. He got a couple threaded through that I never thought could make it.

"All I had to do was lay them in."

It was Lafayette's fourth straight game on the road and Navy's first conference loss at home since Valentine's Day of last year when Holy Cross prevailed in Annapolis, 77-67.

"They just kind of fit our style," said Leopards coach Fran O'Hanlon. "We have to use their kind of aggressiveness against them."

Barker finished with seven three-pointers and 23 points for Navy, which was out-rebounded 29-23 and shot under 40 percent from the floor.

But he missed a free throw after 33 straight connections.

"They just took it to us," said Navy senior Jehiel Lewis. "They did what they wanted to do, getting layups or wide-open threes. We didn't knock down shots to counter them."

"We just started taking too many threes," said Barker. "It showed in the outcome. You can't live and die from outside."

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