Navy hits `low point' of season vs. Lehigh

DeVoe frustrated as Mids drop 9th in a row, 66-38

College Basketball

February 08, 2004|By Jeff Seidel | Jeff Seidel,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Navy coach Don DeVoe looked at the statistics for several minutes after Lehigh handed his Midshipmen a 66-38 loss yesterday before 1,353 at Alumni Hall. DeVoe could do little more than repeatedly shake his head in frustration.

"This was really the low point of the season today," DeVoe said. "We just struggled in every phase of the game. We just got taken apart."

On Monday, DeVoe said he would retire at the end of the season, and this was the team's first game since the announcement. Navy (3-18, 0-8 Patriot League) looked flat in its ninth straight defeat, its longest losing streak since a 15-game slide in the 1988-89 season.

The 38 points were the fewest Navy has scored since a 52-36 loss to Princeton on Dec. 1, 1976. It also was the Midshipmen's lowest point total at Alumni Hall or in Patriot League play.

Lehigh (14-7, 7-1) took charge with a 15-point first-half run and moved to a 29-13 halftime lead as the Midshipmen missed 21 of 27 field-goal attempts.

"We just weren't screening for one another," said Navy forward Matt Fannin. "They were forcing us far beyond the three-point line after we got the shot clock down to about 12 or 15."

The Mountain Hawks stepped up their half-court defensive pressure after Navy managed to slow the pace early in the game.

"Our defense was really terrific," Lehigh coach Billy Taylor said. "We clamped down and made it tough for Navy to get a good look at the basket."

Jose Olivero and Kyle Neptune each scored a game-high 12 points for the Mountain Hawks, who posted 19 assists on their 26 baskets and repeatedly found good shots.

Lehigh shot a blistering 70 percent in the second half and finished by making 61 percent overall. Austen Rowland, Lehigh's leading scorer, scored only nine points, but the speedy guard added five rebounds, four assists and three steals.

DeVoe said that the younger Midshipmen will play more so that next season's coach can better evaluate the talent level. With so many struggles on offense, DeVoe will let others have a chance to do something.

"This is just a basketball team that's never been able to come together," DeVoe said. "I take full responsibility for it."

LEHIGH--Monserez 2-4 2-3 6, Nurse 4-6 0-0 8, Mgebroff 2-2 0-0 4, Rowland 3-10 2-3 9, Olivero 3-4 4-4 12, Neptune 6-8 0-0 12, Tiah 3-3 0-0 8, Gilfillan 1-2 0-0 2, Callahan 0-0 0-0 0, Tempest 0-0 0-0 0, Mickelson 1-3 0-0 2, Murawinski 1-1 0-0 3, Fischman 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-43 8-10 66. NAVY--O' Garro 1-6 0-0 2, Fannin 4-9 0-0 8, Hooper 1-10 0-0 2, Ofori 3-6 0-0 8, Mathews 3-8 0-0 6, Fernandez 0-1 0-0 0, Boatner 0-0 0-0 0, Green 0-0 0-0 0, Charles 0-0 0-0 0, Higgins 1-5 1-2 3, Onyekanne 0-2 0-0 0, Baldwin 3-11 0-0 6, Paul 0-0 0-0 0, Mergerson 1-3 1-2 3. Totals 17-61 2-4 38. Half--Lehigh 29, Navy 13. 3-point goals--Lehigh 6-10 (Rowland 1-3, Olivero 2-3, Neptune 0-1, Tiah 2-2, Murawinski 1-1), Navy 2-14 (O'Garro 0-2, Hooper 0-3, Ofori 2-4, Mathews 0-1, Fernandez 0-1, Higgins 0-2, Onyekanne 0-1). Fouled out--None. Rebounds--Lehigh 25 (Nurse 7), Navy 38 (O' Garro, Mathews 5). Assists--Lehigh 19 (Rowland 4), Navy 6 (Fannin, Fernandez 2). Total fouls--Lehigh 10, Navy 15. A--1,353.

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