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Navy holds off Harvard, 75-71; Late free throws seal win after turnovers by Mids


If Navy coach Don DeVoe wanted a tough test before beginning conference play against Bucknell tomorrow night, he got more than he bargained for before putting away a spunky, well-drilled Harvard team, 75-71, at Alumni Hall last night.

The Midshipmen (10-3) appeared in control, leading 70-59 with 2: 29 left. But forward Dan Clemente hit an open three-pointer that pulled the Crimson within a point, 70-69, with 39 seconds remaining.

Despite several opportunities created by Navy turnovers, that was as close as Harvard (6-7) would come. Team captain Skip Victor, who was elected Patriot League Player of the Week for the second time this week, made two free throws for 72-69.

The Mids' defense played more aggressively to guard against another three-pointer, and Clemente's shot from behind the key bounced off the rim.

Victor came back with another pair of free throws for a five-point cushion before Harvard point guard Tim Hill (20 points), a DeMatha grad, made a short jumper to cut the deficit to 74-71 with seven seconds left.

But Harvard was forced to foul, and sophomore point guard Reggie Skipworth made the second of two foul shots to finally put it away.

Said DeVoe: "We were the hunted in the last three minutes and didn't respond well.

"I knew Harvard wouldn't quit. They came back from an 18-point deficit to beat Boston College on the road. They kept hustling and pounding the boards," the coach added, noting the visitors' 14 offensive rebounds.

But DeVoe also found positives in limiting the Crimson to eight free throws while Navy converted 18 of 27 from the line.

"We wanted to stop their three-point shots, but they still made eight of 21 [five by Mike Bream]. But they had a lot of one-on-one opportunities on the inside, and I thought our big guys, Sitapha Savane and Josh Williams [15 points, 10 rebounds], did an excellent job shutting them down."

Asked about almost letting this one get away, junior forward Savane, who bounced back from a knee injury to score a team-high 18 points, said: "We relaxed for a split second, and it took only a few turnovers to let them back in the game. I think that taught us a lesson that we have to finish the job."

"I was pleased with the way we held them almost even on the boards [39-37] and fought back at the end," said Crimson coach Frank Sullivan. "But Navy held us off, and, I believe, they're the best team we've seen so far."

HARVARD -- Long 1-3 2-2 4, Clemente 4-16 0-0 10, Fisher 4-16 2-4 10, Hill 9-13 1-2 20, Beam 5-12 0-0 15, Gellert 1-2 0-0 2, C. Lewis1-1 0-0 2, Lowder 0-0 0-0 0, Harvey 0-0 0-0 0, Coleman 3-7 0-0 6, Ewing 1-4 0-0 2. Totals 29-74 5-8 71.

NAVY -- C. Williams 3-8 6-9 12, Savane 7-13 4-5 18, Josh Williams 7-8 1-1 15, Skipworth 2-4 2-4 7, Victor 3-7 5-8 12, John Williams 2-4 0-0 5, Reeder 1-3 0-0 2, J. Lewis 2-3 0-0 4, Hill 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 27-51 18-27 75.

Halftime--Navy 41-38. 3-point goals--Harvard 8-21 (Beam 5-10, Clemente 2-7, Hill 1-3, Long 0-1). Navy 3-6 (Skipworth 1-2, John Williams 1-2, Victor 1-1, J. Lewis 0-1). Fouled out--None. Rebounds--Harvard 37 (Fisher 10), Navy 39 (Josh Williams 10). Assists--Harvard 13 (Hill 5), Navy 20 (Victor 7). Total fouls--Harvard 20, Navy 9. A--1,225.

Pub Date: 1/05/99

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