Navy opens league play with a thud

Lehigh secures 76-59 win with dominant second half

January 12, 2003|By Kevin Van Valkenburg | Kevin Van Valkenburg,SUN STAFF

Navy basketball coach Don DeVoe couldn't help but wonder before yesterday's Patriot League opener against Lehigh if conference play would be the tonic his team needed to break out of an early-season funk.

Five minutes into the second half, he had his answer. If the Midshipmen continue to play this poorly, it doesn't matter whom they play.

Lehigh had four players score in double figures and shot 57 percent from the floor as the Mountain Hawks easily defeated Navy, 76-59, in front of 1,631 at Alumni Hall.

Though Navy trailed by only six points at halftime, Lehigh (9-5 overall, 1-0 in the Patriot League) quickly erased any doubt about the outcome with a 14-5 run to open the second half. The Mids (4-10, 0-1), who shot 26 percent in the second half, never recovered and have now lost five of six.

"We got schooled again tonight," DeVoe said. "Give Lehigh credit; they came in focused and ready to play. They have a very good basketball team. ... But our outside shooting was pitiful, and we just didn't make any plays."

Lehigh senior guard Zlatko Savovic led the Mountain Hawks with 19 points, senior forward Matt Logie added 16, and senior center Matt Crawford had 14 points and nine rebounds.

"Our seniors really got us off to a great start, and the rest of the team followed," Lehigh coach Billy Taylor said. "Our post players really attacked the rim, and we finished well. We really had effort and energy for the full 40 minutes."

That's something Navy has not had much of this season. Senior forward Scott Long had 14 points and six rebounds, but he was the Mids' only offensive threat as leading scorer Jason Jeanpierre went 2-for-10 from the floor and finished with seven points.

"We can't seem to put a complete game together," Long said. "We play well in spurts, but we can't sustain it. I thought we handled them in the post a little bit early, but then we went away from it as they took it away and we couldn't hit from the outside. It's extremely frustrating."

Lehigh out-rebounded Navy, 32-26, and made 24 of 26 free throws. The Mountain Hawks also got a litany of easy baskets against Navy's defense, including five dunks.

"I was really hopeful that this team would rise up and play defense this year, but apparently that's not happening for us," DeVoe said. "We need a monster turnaround if we're going to be competitive the rest of the way."

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