Navy runs off and hides from Lafayette, 78-62


The proof was in the first 10 1/2 minutes at Alumni Hall last night.

Navy held Lafayette to one field goal in that span, rolled to a 17-2 lead and then cruised to a 78-62 Patriot League victory before 1,712 fans.

Defense and control of the backboards were the key elements for the Midshipmen, who won for the fourth time in the past five games and improved their home record to 7-1.

The young and struggling Leopards were horrific early, shooting 1-for-9 from the floor and committing 10 turnovers while Navy (8-5, 1-1) jumped out to the big advantage with fast breaks and free throws.

"Take away the first eight or nine minutes and it's a dogfight," said Lafayette coach John Leone, whose team dropped its eighth in a row.

The Midshipmen built the edge to 47-25 three minutes into the second half before settling into a pattern of giving away a little of the lead, then regaining it.

"Our game plan was to get out and run against them because they like to play a half-court game," said Navy point guard Brian Walker, who had 10 points and seven assists. "Defensively, we were concentrating on stopping them from shooting the threes because it was hard for them to get inside."

Lafayette (2-11, 0-2) used a combination of zones on defense and weaves on offense to chip away.

It pulled to within 53-41 with 11:20 to play as the Mids seemed to hit a lull. After the clock expired on one of its possessions, Navy was in danger of having that happen again when Walker knocked in a three-pointer just before the buzzer.

That halted the Leopards' momentum temporarily, but they came back again, getting to within 68-60 on a basket by freshman Alfred McAllister (Edgewood).

Navy then iced the game by making nine of 12 free throws in the final 2:37.

"The game seemed real slow once we got up by 17 points," said Walker. "It was hard to keep things going. We've still got a long way to go to find the chemistry we had last year."

Coach Don DeVoe knows the Midshipmen need to develop some momentum with games ahead at Holy Cross and Colgate, the two other major contenders in the league.

"We're dead even where we were last year at this time," said DeVoe. "This game wasn't real pretty, but we won by 16 so we'll take it.

"Last year, we came out of the doldrums with a big league win at Bucknell that got us going. Maybe this one will do the same."

Five Mids scored in double figures, led by freshman Michael Heary with 19, including three three-pointers.

Navy, which broke a three-game losing streak in the series, out-rebounded the Leopards 44-30, with senior Wes Cooper having 12.

LAFAYETTE -- Kowadla 7-15 7-8 22, Barnes 3-6 2-3 9, Pendleton 4-11 0-0 8, Bennett 1-4 2-2 4, Golitko 4-5 0-0 8, McAllister 2-4 0-0 4, Doran 0-0 0-2 0, Schoeneck 3-10 0-0 7, Sickles 0-3 0-0 0. Totals 24-58 11-15 62.

NAVY -- Walker 2-5 5-6 10, Hall 3-10 5-8 13, Norris 2-3 1-4 5, Heary 5-11 6-6 19, L. Green 4-9 3-6 11, Cooper 6-14 3-4 15, M. Green 2-5 1-1 5, Kohnen 0-1 0-2 0. Totals 24-58 24-37 78.

Halftime--Navy, 40-23. 3-point goals--Lafayette 3-12 (Barnes 1-1, Kowadla 1-3, Schoeneck 1-3, Golitko 0-1, McAllister 0-1, Bennett 0-3); Navy 6-16 (Heary 3-7, Hall 2-6, Walker 1-2, Green 0-1). Rebounds--Lafayette 30 (Schoeneck 7); Navy 44 (Cooper 12). Assists--Lafayette 5 (Kowadla 4); Navy 18 (Walker 7). Total fouls--Lafayette 25; Navy 14. Fouled out--Golitko. Technicals--L. Green. A--1,712.

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