Navy less than smooth but beats Morgan, 77-67

College Basketball

December 02, 2004|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,SUN STAFF

Navy could not hold the ball for lengthy stretches last night and did not make a basket for nearly the final seven minutes, but that did not stop the Midshipmen from handling visiting Morgan State.

In the first meeting ever between the two schools, senior forward Laramie Mergerson scored 21 points and grabbed 10 rebounds - both game highs - and forwards Carlton Baldwin and David Hooper provided sparks off the bench as Navy erased a five-point deficit early in the second half and pulled away to a 77-67 victory.

Navy (3-2), rebuilding under first-year coach Billy Lange, gained on last year's five-win total in unconventional fashion.

The Mids committed 26 turnovers, got combined 2-for-20 shooting from their starting guard trio of Corey Johnson, Taj Mathews and Leonard Green and did not convert a field goal after Mergerson's layup with 6:44 left gave Navy a 64-53 lead.

The Midshipmen finished off the Bears (1-4) by scoring their final 13 points at the free-throw line, capping a 27-for-38 showing there.

"We can take 26 turnovers. We're playing unselfishly. We were pushing the ball. I think [Morgan State] got tired of that tempo," Lange said. "Hey, we only had nine [turnovers] in the second half. I'll take it. I was just proud the guys came back. I don't think our energy was there at the beginning."

The energy certainly was there down the stretch. After Navy took a 38-33 halftime lead, despite turning the ball over 17 times, Morgan opened the second half by forcing four straight miscues that led to a 13-3 run and a 46-41 advantage.

But the Mids, behind Mergerson, Baldwin and Hooper, bounced back over the next eight minutes with a 19-3 run to take a 60-49 lead with 7:40 left, then extended their lead to its largest at 65-53 on a free throw by Hooper with 6:22 to go.

Baldwin, who has come back quickly from a toe injury, scored eight points during Navy's pivotal stretch, including three straight baskets. He scored 14 points and grabbed seven rebounds in only 15 minutes.

Hooper, who was in an early-season shooting slump, came off the bench for the first time this season and shot 5-for-5, made both of his three-point attempts and finished with 17 points.

Senior forward Christopher Grant led Morgan State with 15 points, but he was the only player to score in double figures for the Bears.

Eleven players scored for Morgan, which was hurt by bad shooting and poor shot selection and got worn out on the boards.

MORGAN STATE - Grant 6-12 2-4 15, Evans 1-4 0-0 2, Andrews 4-8 1-4 9, McLean 2-4 0-0 4, Brand 2-10 2-2 7, Mathis 2-5 0-0 4, Timus 3-6 3-4 9, Terrell 1-1 0-0 3, Lawler 1-4 3-4 5, Aujia 1-3 0-1 3, Warfield 0-0 0-0 0, Berkley 3-4 0-2 6, McIver 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 26-62 11-21 67. NAVY - Fannin 2-4 2-3 6, Mergerson 7-11 7-10 21, Johnson 1-8 3-4 6, Mathews 1-9 8-10 11, Green 0-3 0-0 0, Hooper 5-5 5-7 17, O'Garro 1-1 0-0 2, Baldwin 6-9 2-4 14, Rhoiney 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 23-50 27-38 77. Halftime-Navy, 38-33. Three-point goals- Morgan State 4-13 (Grant 1-2, Evans 0-1, McLean 0-1, Brand 1-5, Terrell 1-1, Aujia 1-3), Navy 4-14 (Johnson 1-5, Mathews 1-6, Green 0-1, Hooper 2-2). Fouled out-Grant. Rebounds- Morgan State 30 (Andrews 5), Navy 42 (Mergerson 10). Assists- Morgan State 15 (Lawler 4), Navy 11 (Mergerson, Johnson, Mathews 3). Total fouls-Morgan State 29, Navy 19. A- 613.

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