It has been a strange and frustrating season for Navy captain Jason Jeanpierre. Last night he managed to erase a few of the bad memories.
Jeanpierre scored a career-high 29 points and hit six three-pointers, helping Navy stop a six-game losing streak with a 79-74 victory over Lafayette at Alumni Hall last night.
It was the first win for the Mids since defeating Army, 65-46. The win was particularly satisfying for Jeanpierre, considering how the senior has struggled at times this year. He's averaged only 10.3 points a contest after coming into the year as the team's top returning scorer, and twice this season (against American and Colgate) he's been shut out. He was benched at one point, and, after Navy (7-19, 3-10 Patriot League) lost to American by three points, DeVoe summed up his play succinctly: "Right now, he stinks."
Not last night.
Jeanpierre went 6-for-10 from behind the arc and scored 21 of his points in the second half to help the Mids erase a 10-point deficit at halftime. Kwame Ofori had one of his best games in a Navy uniform, scoring 19 points and handing out 7 assists.
Lafayette (12-14, 6-7) had three players score in double figures, led by Justin DeBerry with 20, but even shooting 52 percent wasn't enough as Navy owned the second half. The Mids shot 57 percent and out-scored the Leopards 48-33.
Things didn't start well for Navy, as the Leopards looked sharper, especially from deep. Four different Lafayette players nailed a three-pointer in the first half. At one point Davis, Andrew Pleick and Drew Dawson did it on three consecutive possessions to help the Leopards build a 33-19 lead.
As a team Lafayette hit seven of 15 three-pointers and shot 60 percent from the floor in the first half; the Mids hit only 38 percent of their shots.
But things started to change as Navy staged a mini-rally before halftime, which seemed to carry over into the second half. Taj Mathews and Ofori hit consecutive three-pointers to pull the Mids within 10 points before intermission, and Navy looked like a different team after coming out of the locke room, tearing off a 13-0 run.
Lafayette regained the lead at 67-61 with five minutes to play thanks to Winston Davis (18 points) and Rob Dill (14 points), but Jeanpierre and Ofori helped Navy close things out with a barrage of points. Ofori hit three three-pointers and a jumper with under a minute to play, and Jeanpierre gave Navy a 75-73 lead it would never relinquish by hitting all three free throws after getting fouled on a three-point attempt.