Air Force overwhelms Navy by 40

Still winless, Mids suffer worst defeat since 1964

College Basketball

November 29, 2003|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

The struggling Navy men's basketball team received another painful lesson from one of its most bitter rivals last night.

Younger, shorter and slower, the winless Midshipmen were outgunned from the beginning and suffered an 86-46 defeat at the hands of Air Force before 2,043 fans at Alumni Hall.

It was Air Force's most lopsided win in a 23-game series that previously had been tied at 11 apiece and Navy's worst loss since Feb. 1, 1964, when No. 8 Duke rattled the Midshipmen, 121-65.

This is only the third team in Navy's 98-year basketball history to begin a season 0-3. The Midshipmen's losses have been by a total of 90 points.

On the same day the academy was celebrating the Houston Bow invitation extended to the football team - one partly created by a rousing victory over Air Force - Navy was never in contention on the court.

After a 4-4 tie, the Falcons whipped in 21 of the next 23 points to take command and stayed there. The final margin was the biggest of the night.

Navy, which has prided itself on its defense during coach Don DeVoe's 12-year regime, is allowing more than 82 points per start and averaging nearly 25 turnovers.

"They beat us at every turn and that's to their credit," said DeVoe. "For us, it was kind of a zero game. I can't imagine we could play any worse, but they made us play badly."

Air Force (2-0), which had a 23-point edge at the foul line and a 15-point advantage in three-pointers, forced 19 turnovers. Seven Falcons scored at least eight points with reserve Dan Nwaelele leading the way with 18.

David Hooper, with 14 points, was the only Navy player in double figures.

"I thought the key was how we handled their physicality," said Air Force coach Joe Scott. "Two years ago they just manhandled us here. We needed to stop allowing that to happen and we did."

AIR FORCE - Kuhle 0-0 0-0 0, Gerlach 3-5 4-7 10, Welch 6-8 2-3 16, Keller 3-5 2-2 11, Hood 2-3 4-5 8, McCraw 3-5 4-5 11, Jenkins 0-0 0-1 0, Dillinger 0-0 2-2 2, Burtschi 3-8 1-1 9, Teets 0-0 0-0 0, Nwaelele 4-6 8-9 18, Peterson 0-2 0-0 0, Buchanan 0-1 0-0 0, Pina 0-0 1-2 1, Frye 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 24-43 28-37 86. NAVY - Green 0-1 0-0 0, Fannin 2-2 1-2 5, Hooper 6-11 0-2 14, Mathews 0-4 0-2 0. Charles 3-6 0-0 6, Fernandez 0-1 0-1 0, Ofori 3-4 0-0 9, Higgins 0-0 1-2 1, Allegro 0-1 0-0 0, Baldwin 2-4 0-0 4, Hudson 0-1 0-0 0, Mergerson 2-4 3-4 7. Totals 18-39 5-12 46.

Half: Air Force, 45-20. 3-Point goals-Air Force (Gerlach 0-1, Welch 2-2, Keller 3-5, Hood 0-1, McCraw 1-2, Burtschi 2-4, Nwaelele 2-4, Peterson 0-1, Buchanan 0-1). Navy 5-13 (Hooper 2-5, Mathews 0-2, Fernandez 0-1, Ofori 3-4, Allegro 0-1. Fouled out - Mathews . Rebounds-Air Force 27 (Gerlach 6), Navy 22 (Baldwin, Mathews 5). Assists- Air Force 16 (Kuhle 4), Navy 7 (Mathews 2. Ofori 2). Total fouls-Air Force 19, Navy 28. A-2,043

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