Mids stay perfect at home with win over Crusaders

men's basketball navy 74, holy cross 68

January 22, 2009|By Todd Karpovich | Todd Karpovich,Special to The Baltimore Sun

Navy is off to its best start in nearly a decade, largely because of its ability to win close games.

In last night's Patriot League matchup against visiting Holy Cross, Chris Harris and Mark Veazey each scored 20 points, and Navy pulled out a 74-68 victory. It was Navy's largest margin of victory since an 11-point win at Pennsylvania on Dec. 5.

The Midshipmen (14-5, 3-1 Patriot League) moved into a second-place tie with Holy Cross (8-11, 3-1) behind American in the conference and are unbeaten in nine home games - tied for the second best-streak in Alumni Hall history. Coach Billy Lange attributed his men's quick start to their ability to feed off each other's personalities and their willingness to defend and spread the ball around.

"Our guys understand we have to be one to win games," Lange said. "Our guys sense it and feel it. Emotionally, we are the same. Physically, we're helping each other out. Guys are playing their roles. ... I thought we shared the ball great tonight."

Navy was outscored 54-18 in the paint, but its perimeter defense forced Holy Cross to miss all 13 of its shots from three-point range. The Crusaders had just one field goal from outside the paint, on a jumper by Adam May with 28 seconds left in the game.

A three-pointer by Harris capped a 10-2 run and gave the Midshipmen their biggest lead, 48-39, with 12:57 remaining.

The Midshipmen had trouble matching up with 6-foot-9 forward Andrew Keister, who finished with 27 points, including nine consecutive midway through the second half.

"We had the matchups tonight that were good opportunities," Keister said. "That's every game; we know what's working and stick with it."

Navy's O.J. Avworo, who finished with nine points, seven assists and just one turnover, said: "We really have confidence in each other. We've done that since April."

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