Crusaders guards send Mids home

Simmons, Hamilton total 5 three-pointers

Holy Cross 78 Navy 50

Patriot League Men

March 04, 2006|By KEVIN RYDER | KEVIN RYDER,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

WORCESTER, Mass. -- Navy couldn't contend with the hot shooting of Holy Cross guards Keith Simmons and Kevin Hamilton in its Patriot League quarterfinal game last night at the Hart Center.

Simmons and Hamilton each had 19 points and combined for five three-pointers and the Midshipmen went through long scoring droughts in each half in a 78-50 loss to the Crusaders.

"There is a level of toughness, then there is a level of championship toughness, and that is what Holy Cross has," Navy coach Billy Lange said. "We played tough, but Holy Cross has that will that you can't learn unless you go through it. It came down to them playing at that level of championship toughness."

The loss put an end to the season for the Midshipmen (10-18), while the Crusaders (19-11) advance to the league semifinals tomorrow afternoon against Lehigh.

After trailing 43-28 at halftime, Navy did its best to get back into the game, cutting the deficit to 10 after a pair of free throws from Kaleo Kina (15 points) with 15:38 left. That would be the closest the Midshipmen would get, as Holy Cross opened up a 15-point lead after a three-pointer by Alex Vander Baan, then pushed the lead to 20 after an offensive rebound and put back from Simmons.

Navy had its troubles scoring throughout the second half. After cutting the Holy Cross lead to 58-46 after a three by Corey Johnson, the Midshipmen were outscored 18-3 over the next 11 minutes. Included in that run were eight consecutive missed free throws and just one made field goal - another three by Johnson (14 points).

For the half, Navy connected on just 29 percent of its shots from the floor (6-for-21), while also getting outscored on second-chance points (21-9), thanks in large part to the 18 offensive rebounds pulled down by Holy Cross.

The Midshipmen also did a poor job holding onto the ball, turning it over 15 times for the game, nine in the first half.

"When you play a team like this, you need things to go your way," Lange said. "We would get a steal, then the ball will bounce off our leg and they get an easy hoop on the other end. When you play the No. 2 seed, those things happen."

Navy stayed with the Crusaders through most of the early going, holding a 14-12 lead at the 13:50 mark after a basket by sophomore Greg Sprink. The shooting guard was the catalyst in the early going for the Midshipmen, scoring seven of the team's first 14 points.

NAVY-Fannin 1-2 1-3 3, Teague 2-5 0-2 5, Sprink 3-14 1-2 8, Johnson 5-9 0-1 14, Kina 5-11 5-5 15, Reed 1-1 0-2 2, Colbert 0-0 0-0 0, Hooper 0-1 0-0 0, Boatner 0-0 0-0 0, Green 0-0 0-0 0, Brigham 0-2 0-0 0, Baldwin 1-1 0-0 2, White 0-0 1-2 1, Biles 0-0 0-2 0. Totals 18-46 8-19 50. HOLY CROSS-Clifford 6-9 2-4 15, Thomas 2-9 2-3 6, Simmons 8-11 1-2 19, Hamilton 6-15 4-4 19, Vander Baan 2-6 1-2 6, Dixon 2-3 0-1 4, Cruze 0-1 0-0 0, Cunningham 1-2 2-2 5, Hyland 1-3 0-1 2, McCarthy 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 29-60 12-19 78. Halftime-Holy Cross 43-28. 3-point goals-Navy 6-22 (Johnson 4-5, Teague 1-2, Sprink 1-9, Hooper 0-1, Brigham 0-2, Kina 0-3), Holy Cross 8-23 (Hamilton 3-8, Simmons 2-3, Clifford 1-2, Cunningham 1-2, Vander Baan 1-3, Cruze 0-1, Dixon 0-1, Thomas 0-3). Fouled out-Clifford, Hyland. Rebounds-Navy 26 (Sprink 8), Holy Cross 42 (Hamilton 10). Assists-Navy 9 (Fannin 4), Holy Cross 19 (Thomas 6). Total fouls-Navy 23, Holy Cross 19. A-2,112.

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