Navy remembers the defense in 72-54 romp; Tied at halftime, Mids pull away from Holy Cross


The game was rather nondescript, but Navy isn't about to throw it back.

Fresh from a turnover-filled defeat to Patriot League favorite Lafayette, the Midshipmen turned up their defense in the second half yesterday and rolled away from cellar-dwelling Holy Cross, 72-54, before 2,449 Alumni Hall spectators.

It was the fifth victory in the past six games for Navy (13-4, 2-1), which has only one day off before visiting archrival Army.

After Holy Cross played them to a 33-33 halftime standoff, the Midshipmen dominated, pushing ahead to stay on a three-pointer by backup point guard Chris Worthing, who came off the bench to score nine points -- all on threes -- and add six assists, providing a big second-half spark.

"Chris was a settling factor," said Navy coach Don DeVoe. "Besides the points, this was by far his best effort playing defense. He took some charges that lifted the team a little bit. We started him in the second half to try to extend the depth of the team a little more. It was important for him to have this kind of game."

"We came out with great momentum," said Worthing, a sophomore from Inman, Kan. "We were all pretty mad that they were still sticking with us at halftime. I'm not sure that they ran out of gas so much; we just didn't stop working."

Holy Cross (4-14, 0-4) was troubled by personal fouls, its youth, and a thinner bench while going 0-9 on the road this season. The Crusaders have dropped four straight and 10 of their past 11 games.

After Worthing stuck his first three, Navy proceeded to unleash a 17-4 run that decided the outcome. Worthing finished the streak with another three-pointer.

"Coming off the bench, some teams don't really know that I can shoot," he said. "The scouting report doesn't show that."

Scoreless to this point, Chris Williams then assumed control of the Navy offense, packing all 11 of his points into the final seven minutes to achieve his 13th double-figure game.

The Crusaders stayed abreast by shooting 62 percent in the first half, with guard Ryan Serravalle and forward Jared Curry carrying the load. But they had just six points between them after the break.

Serravalle was playing his second game since returning from a fractured foot.

"I wasn't pleased with our defensive effort the first half," said DeVoe. "I think the players felt they had worked too hard during the week to have that kind of performance in the second half. But they were very unselfish out there after that.

"The numbers paint the picture for me, seven more assists than turnovers [21-14] and a big advantage on the backboards [43-29]. We just kept working."

Forward Sitapha Savane topped Navy with 21 points, including seven of nine from the foul line, and seven rebounds, and Skip Victor tossed in 16 points, all but two of them in the first half.

HOLY CROSS -- Curry 5-12 0-0 12, Pegues 6-11 5-7 18, Whearty 2-5 0-34, Serravalle 6-10 2-3 16, Hightower 2-2 0-2 4, Spitler 0-0 0-0 0, Nelson 0-0 0-0 0, Gutierrez 0-1 0-0 0, Stowers 0-5 0-0 0, Waters 0-0 0-0 0, Alexander 0-0 0-0 0, Hall 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 21-48 7-15 54.

NAVY -- C. Williams 4-10 2-2 11, Savane 7-11 7-9 21, J. Williams 2-7 1-4 5, Skipworth 0-3 1-2 1, Victor 7-14 2-3 16, John Williams 0-3 0-0 0, Reeder 1-2 1-2 3, Worthing 3-4 0-0 9, Hill 1-1 2-2 4, Murray 0-1 0-0 0, Nero 0-0 0-0 0, Lewis 0 -0 0-0 0, Toton 0-0 0-0 0, Cunningham 1-3 0-0 2. Totals 26-59 16-24 72.

Halftime -- Tied at 33. 3-point goals--Holy Cross 5-15 (Serravalle 2-4, Curry 2-6, Pegues 1-2, Gutierrez 0-1, Stowers 0-2), Navy 4-12 (Worthing 3-4, C. Williams 1-2, John Williams 0-2, Skipworth 0-1, Victor 0-3). Fouled out--none. Rebounds--Holy Cross 29 (Pegues 6), Navy 43 (Savane, Josh Williams 7). Assists--Holy Cross 12 (Serravalle, Hightower 4), Navy 21 (Worthing 6). Total fouls--Holy Cross 23, Navy 19. A--2,449.

Pub Date: 1/18/99

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