Navy men are beaten by American, 72-57

8-20 Midshipmen ousted from Patriot quarterfinals

College Basketball

March 09, 2003|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

UPPER MARLBORO - Two years ago the Navy men's basketball team was the premier challenger to Holy Cross' domination of the Patriot League and was en route to Worcester, Mass., where it lost a thrilling championship game in overtime.

The league's landscaping has since changed drastically.

With the entrance of American University, the Eagles replaced Navy as Holy Cross' chief antagonist and they reaffirmed their standing yesterday with a 72-57 victory over the Midshipmen in the conference quarterfinals at Show Place Arena.

Superior speed and shooting ability carried American (15-13) to its fifth straight win in the teams' meetings as Patriot members.

The only team to beat Holy Cross in the regular season, American strapped the Midshipmen with their 20th defeat and lowest win total (eight) since coach Don DeVoe arrived in Annapolis for the 1992-93 season.

"It really was a 2-7 [seeding] game," said DeVoe, referring to the Eagles' higher placing. "We hung around but didn't have what it takes. Right from the get-go American showed their superiority, knocking down shots early and seeming comfortable in their offense."

With little inside offensive power, the Midshipmen stayed competitive only via three-point shooting. They lofted an uncommonly high 29 shots from beyond the arc and hit 10.

After the Eagles unloaded with a 16-2 surge to grab a 27-12 lead, Navy fought uphill the remainder of the game, trying to offset the outside shooting, driving ability and passing prowess of American guards Steven Miles (18 points, 11 rebounds, 10-for-10 from the line), Glenn Stokes (13 points) and Andres Rodriguez.

A second flurry of long-range shots carried Navy to within 58-53 with less than eight minutes remaining, and forced Eagles coach Jeff Jones to call a timeout.

Navy then went cold, Miles and Stokes hit three-pointers and the rest was a formality. During the timeout, Jones "just told us not to panic," Miles said.

Said Rodriguez: "We knew Navy was a pretty tough team and we couldn't look past them. "They gave us a pretty tough game over at Navy [a 64-61 decision]."

Added Jones: "You certainly have to play with a lot of physical toughness when you play them because Navy forces you to. Except for a couple of brief stretches, we matched their intensity. And we got a lot of contributions from a lot of guys."

American is now 11-1 when it scores more than 70 points, thanks to a defense that ranks 21st nationally.

The defeat concluded another disappointing run for the Midshipmen, who are 9-28 since losing a heartbreaker in overtime at American in midseason last year.

"This was like a lot of our games this season," said Navy captain Jason Jeanpierre, who had a team-high 14 points but went only 2-for-10 from three-point range. "We had the momentum and were charging, but we couldn't get over the hill. It just wasn't there."

NAVY - McCreary 2-6 0-2 4, Long 2-2 2-2 6, Ofori 2-6 0-0 6, Jeanpierre 5-16 2-3 14, Mathews 2-7 0-0 6, Fernandez 0-1 0-0 0, Hooper 2-8 0-0 6, Ebong 1-3 1-1 3, Charles 3-5 2-2 10, Fannin 1-2 0-0 2, Cummings 0-0 0-0 0, Onyekanne 0-0 0-0 0, Lane 0-0 0-0 0, Moore 0-1 0-0- 0. Totals 20-57 7-10 57. AMERICAN - Draughn 2-7 4-7 8, Cresnik 2-6 4-4 8, Stokes 4-6 2-2 13, Miles 3-13 10-10 18, Rodriguez 3-6 1-2 7, Thomas 0-0 1-2 1, Petrauskas 2-2 0-1 4, Adams 1-2 1-2 4, Patiejunas 3-3 1-2 9. Totals 20-45 24-32 72. Half -American, 39-30. 3-Point goals-Navy 10-29 (Ofori 2-4, Jeanpierre 2-10, Mathews 2-5, Fernandez 0-1, Hooper 2-6, Charles 2-3), American 8-16 (Stokes 3-4, Miles 2-6, Adams 1-1, Patiejunas 2-2, Cresnik 0-3). Fouled out-Mathews, Cresnik. Rebounds-Navy 31 (Jeanpierre 6), American 28 (Miles 11). Assists-Navy 9 (Hooper 3), American 11 (Rodriguez 4). Total fouls-Navy 23, American 17. A-NA. A-N/A.

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