Navy slowdown only 75 percent effective

Lafayette, held in check 30 minutes, wins, 65-50

February 02, 2004|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

Navy had a five-point halftime lead against the Patriot League's best team yesterday, hung in against Lafayette for 10 more minutes and recovered nicely from a disheartening loss Friday to archrival Army.

But, down the stretch, the taller, more talented Leopards asserted themselves to pull away for their seventh straight victory, 65-50, before 1,473 at Alumni Hall.

Navy (3-17, 0-7) had no answers for Lafayette's size after playing a disciplined slowdown strategy for 30 minutes.

"I haven't coached that kind of game since I was at Florida [1989-90]," Navy coach Don DeVoe said. "And we didn't win there, either. But anything I can do to keep our guys into the game, I have to try. I always felt this team would be able to play a quicker tempo, but we went through a stretch of getting beat by 30 points a game. It was obvious we weren't getting it done that way."

Lafayette has opened the league season 7-0 for the first time in its history. The Leopards were 6-0 at the start of 1999-2000 before Navy stopped the run at the same point.

With the game in the balance at 41-40, the Leopards accented getting the ball inside to their superior front line anchored by senior Mike Farrell, junior Sean Knitter and senior Rob Dill. Navy couldn't stop the onslaught, either fouling, surrendering a basket or giving up second chances that were converted.

"The first half we scrambled and tried to speed it up," Leopards coach Fran O'Hanlon said. "The second half we decided to play the way they were going to. We got used to what was going on."

"Once they got the lead, we couldn't use our game plan anymore," added Navy's Taj Mathews, who scored a career-high 11 points. "We couldn't burn the clock. They worked the ball inside and played determined. We made too many little mistakes."

It was the seventh consecutive loss for the Midshipmen, who committed a season-low nine turnovers after ranking next to last in the country in turnovers per game.

LAFAYETTE-Dill 3-5 3-7 9, Knitter 6-9 3-4 15, Betley 0-2 2-4 2, DeBerry 3-7 3-4 11, David 2-7 2-2 7, Douglas 0-1 0-0 0, Harley 2-5 0-0 6, Saunders 1-3 0-0 3, Farrell 3-7 4-4 10, Capusan 0-0 0-0 0, Hughes 0-0 2-2. Totals 20-46 19-27 65.

NAVY-O'Garro 2-5 1-3 5, Fannin 2-5 4-6 8, Hooper 0-7 1-3 1, Ofori 3-13 0-0 9, Mathews 5-8 1-1 11, Boatner 1-1 0-0 2, Charles 1-2 1-2 3, Higgins 1-1 2-2 4, Allegro 0-1 0-0 0, Baldwin 2-3 0-0 4, Mergerson 1-3 1-2 3. Totals 18-49 11-19 50.

Halftime-Navy 27-22. 3-point goals-Lafayette 6-16 (Knitter 0-1, Betley 0-1, DeBerry 2-4, Davis 1-4, Harley 2-4, Saunders 1-1, Farrell 0-1), Navy 3-13 (O'Garro 0-1, Hooper 0-2, Ofori 3-9, Mathews 0-1). Fouled out - O'Garro (Navy), Fannin (Navy). Rebounds-Lafayette 37 (Farrell 9), Navy 31 (O' Garro, Fannin 5). Assists-Lafayette 10 (DeBerry 4), Navy 8 (Fannin, Ofori, Mathews 2). Turnovers-Lafayette 6, Navy 9. Total fouls-Lafayette 18, Navy 19. A-1,473.

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