Mids feast on smaller Leopards

Navy shoots 50.8% and controls boards

Navy 89 Lafayette 69

February 12, 2006|By KENT BAKER | KENT BAKER,SUN REPORTER

Navy encountered somebody its own size yesterday and experienced its best Patriot League performance of the season at Alumni Hall.

Without a dominant presence inside, Lafayette was no match and suffered an 89-69 defeat to the Midshipmen, who are jockeying for position in the league's postseason tournament.

Navy (10-13, 3-7) shot 54.8 percent in the second half and 50.8 percent overall, out-rebounded the Leopards by 11 and controlled the Lafayette offense, which is centered on the perimeter.

The 89-point total -- arriving on coach Billy Lange's 34th birthday -- was the highest output by the Midshipmen in a conference game in more than four years.

"It's been an emotional couple days for us," Lange said. "We've talked a lot about where we are as a program and I want our guys to play every possession. We played this game with tremendous energy."

The Midshipmen came out blazing, making their first four three-point attempts, but the game was a see-saw session until a 9-0 Navy run to complete the first half.

Plebe Kaleo Kina (19 points, nine rebounds and seven assists) highlighted the closing surge with a three-pointer and a follow-up of his own miss.

The momentum carried into the second half, when Navy scored the first eight points and 13 of the first 15 to storm in front 51-31.

Lafayette (10-13, 4-6), which won the first meeting with Navy this season, 80-67, pressed to get back into contention at 58-50 with 11 minutes remaining, but the rally fizzled and the Midshipmen uncorked 14 consecutive points to put away the decision.

"It always feels good to win," Kina said. "This is a step in the right direction, but we have to keep moving forward."

The Leopards' leading scorer -- Andrei Capusan -- entered the game with a .587 field-goal percentage and a 16.8-point average over the previous five games. The Navy defense and foul trouble confined him to 4-for-11 shooting from the field and a team-high 11 points.

"We stop moving and we get droughts," said Lafayette coach Fran O'Hanlon. "Capusan is our go-to guy and we don't have a lot of other weapons. We're playing seven guys, basically. Sometimes, the magic works, and sometimes it doesn't."

Lange said he is not particularly dwelling on the team's place in the standings.

"We'd like to have a little better record in the league, but whether we're first or eighth, it's all about establishing our program," he said.

Fellow guard Corey Johnson matched Kina at 19 points, leading scorer Greg Sprink pitched in 15 and captain Matt Fannin had 12 for Navy, the top-scoring team in the Patriot League.

kent.baker@baltsun.com

LAFAYETTE--Capusan 4-11 3-3 11, Schmidt 3-5 3-4 9, P.Betley 3-8 0-0 8, Brown 4-11 0-0 10, M.Betley 4-5 0-0 9, Cummins 2-5 2-2 8, Abdullah 4-7 0-1 9, Kenny 1-2 0-0 3, Smith 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 26-56 8-10 69. NAVY--Fannin 5-7 2-4 12, Teague 2-3 2-2 8, Sprink 6-10 0-0 15, Johnson 6-14 7-9 19, Kina 7-14 3-4 19, Reed 3-3 2-3 8, Colbert 1-2 0-0 2, Hooper 2-5 0-0 6, Boatner 0-0 0-0 0, Green 0-1 0-0 0, Brigham 0-4 0-0 0, White 0-0 0-0 0, Biles 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 32-63 16-22 89. Halftime--Navy, 38-29. 3-point goals--Lafayette 9-23 (Cummins 2-5, P.Betley 2-6, Brown 2-8, M.Betley 1-1, Kenny 1-1, Abdullah 1-2), Navy 9-20 (Sprink 3-4, Kina 2-3, Teague 2-3, Hooper 2-4, Colbert 0-1, Johnson 0-2, Brigham 0-3). Rebounds--Lafayette 28 (M.Betley 7), Navy 39 (Kina 9). Assists--Lafayette 17 (M.Betley 6), Navy 18 (Kina 7). Total fouls--Lafayette 17, Navy 16. A--1,125.

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