Weary Holy Cross wears out Navy, 62-54

Loss hurts Mids' hopes in Patriot League race

February 03, 2002|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

Navy's hopes of finishing first in the Patriot League's regular-season race were severely damaged yesterday by a familiar nemesis, defending champion Holy Cross.

While completing a crucial week against major challengers, the Midshipmen faded down the stretch of a tight game at Alumni Hall and dropped a 62-54 decision that left them two games behind front-running American with six remaining in the league.

The Midshipmen (9-14, 4-4) fell in overtime at American on Wednesday.

Normally an ordinary three-point shooting team, Holy Cross beat Navy from beyond the arc (10-for-14) and by employing the familiar strategy of playing a patterned game and moderate tempo.

"We had to try and gut this one out," said Holy Cross coach Ralph Willard after the team's second lengthy trip in four days. "We really didn't have a lot of preparation time after getting home from Bucknell at 4 in the morning Thursday.

"For those reasons, Navy's depth and the fact that we didn't have [injured center Pat] Whearty, I thought this game would be very tough. I'm proud of the way we responded down the stretch."

One of the most underrated players in the league, Crusaders guard Ryan Seravalle (17 points), was particularly prominent at crunch time. He put Holy Cross, which has beaten Navy five straight times, in front to stay with a three-pointer, made a nifty feed to Brian Wilson for another three, then hit four consecutive free throws to clinch it.

Navy dominated inside, but 40 percent shooting doomed the team, which fell 23 points short of its scoring average in league play.

Both Jehiel Lewis (2-for-11) and Jason Jeanpierre (1-for-6) had sub-par games from the field after battling sickness and missing valuable practice time.

"We just don't seem to be able to find a point where we can push ahead and put ourselves in a commanding situation going into the late minutes," said Navy coach Don DeVoe.

"It's been a tough season," added Navy forward Scott Long, who had 11 points and eight rebounds in a determined effort. "I don't know if this week stood out as any tougher. We just haven't been able to put anything together as far as good wins go."

With a highly balanced field, the top seed is still not out of the question for Navy, which has absorbed its most league defeats since 1995. But four of its remaining conference games are on the road, where the team has won only once.

HOLY CROSS-Szatko 6-12 4-8 16, Lufkin 3-7 3-4 9, Wilson 4-10 0-0 11, Seravalle 4-9 6-6 17, Meade 2-4 0-0 5, Sanchez 0-0 1-2 1, Kinsey 1-3 0-0 3, Hurley 0-1 0-0 0, Richter 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 19-47 14-20 62. NAVY-J.Lewis 2-11 6-8 10, Long 4-11 3-4 11, Moore 4-10 0-0 8, Jeanpierre 1-6 2-2 4, Shepard 5-7 0-0 12, McCreary 0-0 0-0 0, Ebong 3-3 1-3 7, Charles 0-0 0-0 0, S.Lewis 1-1 0-0 2, Nero 0-0 0-0 0, Barker 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 20-50 12-17 54. Halftime-Holy Cross, 29-26. 3-point goals-Holy Cross 10-14 (Serravalle 3-4, Wilson 3-5, Szatko 2-3, Meade 1-1, Kinsey 1-1), Navy 2-8 (Shepard 2-2, J.Lewis 0-3, Jeanpierre 0-3). Fouled out-Shepard. Rebounds-Holy Cross 28 (Lufkin 6), Navy 34 (Long 8). Assists-Holy Cross 16 (Meade 6), Navy 15 (Jeanpierre 8). Technical-Long. Total Fouls-Holy Cross 21, Navy 17. A-2,902.

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