Mount sinks Navy at buzzer

Pressured Thompson delivers winner, 54-53

College Basketball

December 28, 2003|By Nathan Max | Nathan Max,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Moments after guard Landy Thompson stunned Navy with an acrobatic buzzer-beater to give Mount St. Mary's a 54-53 victory at Alumni Hall, first-year Mountaineers coach Milan Brown grabbed the basketball and walked straight to the free-throw line.

Like the rest of his team yesterday, he couldn't convert the uncontested shot.

Mount St. Mary's overcame a dreadful 9-for-24 (37.5 percent) free-throw shooting performance - including 11 straight misses in the second half - to stop a 10-game road losing streak.

"I wanted to make sure it was all of us and not just them," Brown said of his post-game miss. "I used to be able to shoot free throws pretty good, so I guess it was just that kind of night."

Thompson (Archbishop Spalding) saved the Mountaineers (2-8) by scoring all nine of his team's points in the final 4:36. On the game-winner, Thompson took the inbound pass - Navy batted away the first three tries - and drove into the paint, sending up what looked like a prayer from 5 feet with Navy forward Jeff Charles in his face.

But the shot, which Thompson released a split-second before he landed, banked off the glass, rattled around the rim and dropped through to send the Midshipmen (2-8) to their ninth straight loss to a Division I opponent. Navy's victories this season have come against Division III competition.

"I tend to shoot shots like that sometimes in practice, so it's nothing new, but this time it went in," said Thompson, who scored a team-high 15 points but missed six consecutive free throws late in the second half. "So I got lucky."

Mount St. Mary's freshman guard Mychal Kearse added career highs with 14 points and 12 rebounds.

Navy freshman forward Carlton Baldwin scored a game-, season- and career-high 23 points on 10-for-18 shooting. He also grabbed nine rebounds. David Hooper added 11 points for the Midshipmen, who also struggled from the free-throw line. The Midshipmen converted just eight of 20 foul shots, (40 percent), and Baldwin couldn't finish possible three-point plays three times in the second half.

Mount St. Mary's led 16-3 just four minutes into the game but allowed Navy to reel off 12 straight points over the next four minutes and 43 seconds. The Midshipmen led 31-28 at halftime and held the lead for more than 18 minutes of the second half.

The Mountaineers took their first lead of the half at 50-49 when Thompson hit a 18-foot jumper from the left corner with 1:41 remaining. The lead changed hands four times in the final 69 seconds, capped by Thompson's game-winner.

"We should have beaten them," Hooper said. "It's really frustrating to be honest."

MOUNT ST. MARY'S-Butler 1-7 1-2 3, Cook 3-10 1-2 9, Dodson 3-4 1-5 7, Kearse 6-9 2-2 14, Thompson 6-14 2-8 15, Johnson 1-2 0-0 2, Durr 0-1 0-0 0, Atangana 1-4 2-4 4, Sumner 0-0 0-1 0, Christian 0-0 0-0 0, Epps 0-1 0-0. Totals 21-52 9-24 54. NAVY-O'Garro 1-4 0-0 3, Charles 3-6 2-6 8, Fannin 0-1 0-0 0, Hooper 4-9 0-0 11, Rhoiney 1-2 0-0 3, Fernandez 0-3 0-0 0, Boatner 0-0 0-0 0, Mathews 0-5 1-2 1, Green 0-0 0-0 0, Baldwin 10-18 3-7 23, Mergerson 1-4 2-5 4. Totals 20-52 8-20 53. Half- Navy, 31-28. 3-point goals-Mount St. Mary's 3-14 (Butler 0-2, Cook 2-6, Thompson 1-6). Navy 5-17 (O' Garro 1-3, Hooper 3-7, Rhoiney 1-2, Fernandez 0-2, Mathews 0-3). Fouled out- Dodson. Rebounds- Mount St. Mary's 40 (Kearse 12), Navy 39 (Baldwin 9). Assists-Mount St. Mary's 8 (Cook, Kearse, Sumner 2), Navy 16 (Mathews 5). Turnovers - Mount St. Mary's 15, Navy 18. Total fouls- Mount St. Mary's 20. Navy 22. A-1,538.

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