WEST POINT, N.Y. -- With the Army pep band playing "Anchors Aweigh" in support of the Midshipmen, Navy used a 9-0 run in the final minute to survive a scare from Lehigh and take an 87-81 win in the Patriot League quarterfinals yesterday.
The Cadets, who upset second-seeded Bucknell, 94-78, behind Mark Leuking's record-tying 43 points, will play Navy in tonight's semifinal round.
With freshman Michael Heary cramming 18 of his 20 points into the second half and a gimpy Brian Walker making a critical steal in the closing minute, the Mids (19-9) had just enough to extend their winning streak to nine straight.
"We were very fortunate to win this game," said Navy coach Don DeVoe, whose team is trying to defend its Patriot League title. "I think part of our problem was that we had played Lehigh only a week ago, and they made a lot of smart defensive adjustments."
The Engineers (11-16) shut down the usually strong inside game of seniors Wes Cooper and Larry Green, who combined for only 12 points.
With four starters scoring in double figures -- led by point guard Rashawne Glenn's 22 points -- Lehigh trailed just 78-75 with 1:06 remaining.
Walker (12 points, eight assists, four steals), who was playing on a sore right ankle, made one of two free throws with 52 seconds left. But the 5-foot-8 sophomore guard followed with the key defensive play, swiping a sloppy handoff from Lehigh reserve Misha Sidorov to Glenn near midcourt.
The steal led to a pair of free throws by Heary, who set a Navy scoring record for plebes with 369 points, breaking Kevin Sinnett's mark.
Reserve center Alex Kohnen and Heary made four more foul shots to give the Mids a commanding 84-75 cushion with 16 seconds left.
The Engineers finished with three more field goals than the Mids (25-22), but Navy capitalized from the foul line, converting 36 of 48 free throws, while Lehigh was 25-for-40. The Mids also hit half of their 14 three-point attempts, with Heary and Jim Hamilton each making three.
"That's the sign of a good team," said Lehigh coach David Duke. "We shut them down inside, but they beat us with their perimeter game and their depth."
Navy got 57 points from its bench. Besides Heary and Hamilton (12 points), forward Hassan Booker was another major contributor with 10 points in 12 minutes.
Navy beat Army twice in the regular season, but DeVoe said, "There's a distinct advantage for Army playing in its own arena. We know how it works, because we won it on our home floor last year."