McCreary's day saves Navy against Army

Senior's second-half play rallies Mids to 62-56 win

College Basketball

March 02, 2003|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

It was tradition that earned Navy's Quintrell McCreary the start yesterday against archrival Army. The forward didn't let the moment go for naught.

On Senior Day in Annapolis, McCreary, who was averaging three points per game, followed a scoreless first half by registering 14 points, five offensive rebounds and two blocks in the second half, helping the Midshipmen rally to a 62-56 win before 5,710 at Alumni Hall.

"Quintrell was the difference in this game," Navy coach Don DeVoe said. "I knew we had to win this game on the boards. He really got after it. He will rebound and he will put the ball back in the basket."

Navy has won 25 of the past 27 games in the one-sided series, including 14 straight at home. Army (5-21) has lost 11 straight and hasn't won on Navy's home court since the 1991-92 season.

Desperately needing an offensive spark after going nearly nine minutes in the first half without a point, and scoring just 19 by halftime, Navy (8-19) came out in the second half intent to trap, keeping four defenders in the backcourt.

The strategy paid off.

Trailing 37-27, the Midshipmen began to force turnovers and bad shots. They also began to dominate the boards, limiting Army to one shot on most possessions while often creating second chances for themselves.

Navy took its first lead since the game's early moments on a three-pointer by Jason Jeanpierre (16 points) with 10:32 left, then minutes later capped a 25-6 run on McCreary's three-point play that made it 52-43 with 6:42 left.

"Our defense really gave us a spark," McCreary said. "That's what got everybody going, and everyone started feeling it."

"Their press ... wore us out a little bit," Army coach Jim Crews said. "I think really their defense helped their offense."

The Midshipmen, who had been scoring 60.8 points a game - their lowest average in 53 years - were leading 10-7, but went the next 8:48 without a point. More than poor shooting, the culprit was sloppiness: Navy had 13 first-half turnovers.

"We were furious because we weren't playing Navy basketball," center Mitch Moore said. "Our offense wasn't producing and our defense wasn't producing. It was just frustrating to see out there and know that we could play better ball."

ARMY - Wilson 4-5 3-5 11, Smith 3-10 1-2 10, Doleac 3-4 2-2 9, Mohr 3-7 2-3 8, Dames 3-6 1-1 7, Payton 1-2 2-2 4, Canty 1-6 0-1 3, Collins 1-3 0-0 2, O'Keefe 1-8 0-0 2. Totals 20-51 11-16 56. NAVY -Jeanpierre 5-12 3-5 16, McCreary 6-8 2-4 14, Long 4-5 2-2 10, Mathews 2-3 0-0 6, Charles 2-5 0-2 6, Moore 1-2 3-5 5, Fernandez 1-3 0-0 3, Ebong 0-1 2-4 2, Ofori 0-5 0-0 0, Cummings 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 21-46 12-22 62. Half -Army, 28-19. 3-Point goals-Army 5-15 (Canty 1-2, O'Keefe 0-2, Smith 3-8, Wilson 0-1, Doleac 1-2). Navy 8-20 (Jeanpierre 3-7, Fernandez 1-3, Ofori 0-1, Mathews 2-3, Charles 2-4, Cummings 0-2). Fouled out -Army (Dames). Rebounds-Army 30 (Mohr 5). Navy 34 (Jeanpierre 9). Assists-Army 16 (Canty 4), Navy 16 (Ofori, Charles 4). Total fouls-Army 22, Navy 19. A-5,710.

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