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Efficient Navy dispatches Fla. International, 104-67

With newly hired football coach Charlie Weatherbie in attendance last night, Navy basketball coach Don DeVoe showed how he turned around a struggling basketball program at the academy as the Midshipmen burned Florida International, 104-67, at Alumni Hall.

DeVoe, who guided Navy to a Patriot League title and an NCAA berth last season in only his second year in Annapolis, calls his present team his best to date. And the Mids (5-4) showed why in playing a near-perfect first half, building a 38-10 lead in the first 18 minutes.

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The Golden Panthers (2-6) scored the game's first basket after only 20 seconds had elapsed, but they would not score again for more than 10 minutes as Navy combined a smothering defense and excellent shooting by senior guard T.J. Hall and freshman Michael Heary for an 18-2 cushion.

The margin ballooned to 49-17 at halftime, with Navy limiting Florida International to seven field goals and 25 percent shooting.

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"It was just an incredible first half, and a perfect birthday gift," said DeVoe, who turns 53 today. "They were coming off a 30-point victory over Lamar, and we expected a tough game. But nothing worked for them, and I give my guys credit for that. We were taking away their best shots and making most of ours. And it turned into a landslide." Florida International coach Bob Weltlich was in full agreement.

"They just gave us an old-fashioned butt-whipping," he said. "We were always a step slow and a dollar short."

DeVoe, on the other hand, watched his team rebound impressively from a disappointing 81-79 loss to New Hampshire Wednesday.

"I was particularly happy for T.J., who had a chance to tie the game the other night," said DeVoe, referring to Hall, who bounced back to score a season-high 25 points, hitting 10 of 16 shots, including four three-pointers. In the first half, he personally outscored the Panthers, 19-17.

"Last March, T.J. was the MVP in the Patriot League tournament, only a year after he was playing with our jayvees," DeVoe added. "He needed a reality check. This year, he got started slow, and for him to earn back his starting job is tribute to hard work."

Hall had lots of help last night, particularly from Heary (23 points) and senior forward Larry Green (17 points and 10 rebounds).

Green, who has been inconsistent this season, said: "I just tried to focus on what I do best, shooting down low and moving my feet on defense." It worked wonders as Green made 7-for-9 shots to give Navy an inside presence to go with the perimeter shooting of Hall and Heary.

"It's all starting to come together for us now," said Green. "We got experienced guys from last year, and our freshman -- Heary and reserve point guard Greg Stephens (seven assists) -- are really helping out."

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FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL -- Tenir 8-10 0-0 20, Johnston 0-0 0-0 0, Forbes 1-6 0-1 2, Davis 4-6 3-5 12, Johnson 0-2 0-1 0, Mazyck 4-10 2-5 11, Johnson 0-2 0-1 2, Dozier 6-1 3-5 17, Nicolls 0-1 0-4 0, Eason 1-6 1-4 3, Pemberton 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 25-57 9-25 67.

NAVY -- Walker 4-5 1-1 9, Hall 10-16 1-1 25, Norris 2-4 0-0 4, Ra. Torgrimson 1-3 0-0 2, Ry. Torgrimson 0-0 3-4 3, Heary 7-11, 6-6 23, L. Green 7-9 3-3 17, Hamilton 2-5 0-0 6, Stephens 2-4 0-0 4, Booker 0-0 0-0 0, Cooper 1-6 0-0 2, M. Green 0-0 0-0 0, Kohnen 2-4 1-2 5, Lookabill 1-1 0-0 2, Hickman 1-2 0-2 2, Totals 40-70 15-19 104.

Halftime--Navy 49-17. 3-point goals--F 8-23 (Tenir 4-6, Dozier 2-7, Davis 1-2, Mazyck 1-2, Johnson 0-1, Johnston 0-1, Forbes 0-2, Eason 0-2); N 9-16 (Hall 4-5, Heary 3-5, Hamilton 2-4, Ra. Torgrimson 0-1, Stephens 0-1). Rebounds--F 31 (Forbes, Johnson 5); N 40 (L. Green 10). Assists--F 17 (Tenir, Johnson, Dozier 4); N 25 (Walker 8). Total fouls--F 19; N 23. Fouled out--F (Dozier); N (Kohnen). Technicals--F (Dozier). A--873.


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