Mids have too little, too late as SMU bolts to 68-54 win

Early hole, foul shots hurt Navy for 3rd game in row

January 01, 2004|By Phillip McGowan | Phillip McGowan,SUN STAFF

Many events conspired against the Navy men's basketball team yesterday in its 68-54 loss to Southern Methodist at Alumni Hall.

Where to begin? Again, try right from the start.

For the third consecutive game, the Mids (2-9) fell behind by double digits in the opening half, and against upstart Southern Methodist (6-3), coming off an upset of Purdue 10 days earlier, the deficit proved too formidable.

The frustration over the slow starts is building. Rice breezed to an 81-55 victory over Navy on Dec. 22, only after the Owls used a 14-0 run to break a 14-14 tie. And then on Saturday, the Mids fell behind 16-3 to Mount St. Mary's, which hung on to beat them at the buzzer, 54-53, on a jumper by Landy Thompson.

"We have to be confident," said Navy senior guard Kwame Ofori, who later acknowledged that the team's "confidence is a little low."

Yesterday, SMU overwhelmed Navy with unpredictable waves of trapping defense in the half court, forcing 11 of the Mids' 19 turnovers in the first half. Freshman forward Carlton Baldwin started for Navy after scoring 23 against the Mount, and his counterpart, Eric Castro, took full advantage, contributing 13 points of his game-high 15 points in the first half in directing the Mustangs to leads of 18-5, 25-7 and 34-17.

"We come out wanting to play too hard," said Baldwin, who led three Navy scorers in double digits with 12 points, but the last half-dozen didn't arrive until the closing minutes.

In fact, Navy's best run didn't occur until the final eight minutes, when the Mids closed a 23-point deficit to 11.

"That was the silver lining for us," said Navy coach Don DeVoe, whose team has yet to beat a Division I opponent this season.

The Mids were just 6-for-11 from the foul line, the eighth time this season that they have made fewer than 10 free throws.

It didn't help that Navy made just six of 26 three-pointers. And it didn't help that SMU shot 12-for-14 from the foul line in the second half.

"We are well below where we should be," DeVoe said. "I thought this team would be stronger than last year's."

SMU--Simpson 3-8 0-0 6, Lowe 2-6 4-6 8, Castro 7-11 1-4 15, Isham 1-4 3-4 5, B. Hopkins 4-12 4-4 13 Pearson 2-7 2-2 6, Miller 2-4 0-0 5, Bennett 0-2 1-2 1, Dement 0-0 0-0 0, R. Hopkins 1-1 0-0 3, Atkins 1-4 0-0 2, Backauskas 1-2 2-2 4, Reay 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 24-61 17-24 68. NAVY--Charles 1-3 0-0 2, Baldwin 6-10 0-1 12, Hooper 4-14 0-0 11, Ofori 3-8 0-0 8, Rhoiney 0-3 0-0 0, Fernandez 1-4 0-0 3, Mathews 0-5 0-0 0, Fannin 2-3 6-10 10, Higgins 2-5 0-0 4, Mergerson 2-2 0-0 4. Totals 21-57 6-11 54. Halftime--SMU, 35-22. 3-point goals--SMU 3-12 (Lowe 0-2, Isham 0-1, B. Hopkins 1-5, Miller 1-2, R. Hopkins 1-1, Atkins 0-1); Navy 6-26 (Charles 0-1, Hooper 3-11, Ofori 2-6, Rhoiney 0-2, Fernandez 1-4, Mathews 0-1, Higgins 0-1). Fouled out--Baldwin (Navy). Rebounds--SMU 44 (Simpson, Castro, 9), Navy 37 (Baldwin 6). Assists--SMU 14 (B, Hopkins 6), Navy 13 (Ofori, Mathews, Fannin 3). Turnovers--SMU 14, Navy 19. Total fouls--SMU 11, Navy 17. A--1,353.

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