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Area Men

Midshipmen Hit Little but a New Low

By Christian Swezey
Special to The Washington Post
Sunday, February 8, 2004; Page E05

The Navy men's basketball team had two points seven minutes into its game against Lehigh in Annapolis yesterday. Things did not get much better in a 66-38 loss before 1,353 at Alumni Hall.

It was the fewest points scored by Navy (3-18, 0-8 Patriot League) since a 52-36 loss to Princeton on Dec. 1, 1976. The Midshipmen had 13 points at halftime, fewest in Coach Don DeVoe's 12 seasons. The previous low was 17, set twice in 1998-99.

In the first half, Navy had as many air balls -- six -- as it did baskets.

"I am really, really disappointed," DeVoe said. "This was the low point of the season. Right now we are struggling in every phase of the game."

After Lehigh (14-7, 7-1) took a 12-2 lead, Navy went on a 7-0 run and closed to 12-9 following a basket by sophomore Matt Fannin with 10 minutes 39 seconds left in the first half. But the Mountain Hawks ended the half on a 17-4 run, led by six points from freshman guard Jose Olivero (W.T. Woodson), and took a 29-13 lead at the break.

The Midshipmen did not get closer than 12 the rest of the game. Olivero and freshman Kyle Neptune had 12 points each for Lehigh. Fannin and senior Kwame Ofori (Chantilly) had eight points each for Navy.

Yesterday marked the fourth time in eight Patriot League games involving Navy that a record was established. Lehigh tied a record by making all 16 of its free throws in an 80-61 win on Jan. 10. The next game, American senior guard Andres Rodriguez had a league- and school-record 19 assists in an 80-58 win.

And Bucknell shot a school- and league-record 71.7 percent (33 of 46) in an 87-46 victory on Jan. 17.

Navy had come closer to victories after DeVoe installed a high-post offense last week. The team used the offense to stay close to Lafayette in a 65-50 loss last Sunday. Yesterday, however, the offense did not work as well.

"I'm very disappointed with the way we played," Fannin said. "Our focus was to come out and not give up the ball, and we didn't do that. We didn't take care of the ball."

Navy is on an eight-game losing streak, its longest since 1988-89. It also is closing in on a third straight 20-loss season, something that hasn't happened since 1989-92 under Pete Hermann. The streak cost Hermann his job; by 1994, however, DeVoe had the Midshipmen in the NCAA tournament.

Perhaps with that in mind, DeVoe, who last week announced he was retiring at the end of this season, said he was going to start using his younger players.

"We need to find out what the young guys can do," he said. "We'll see if they can muster up some offense and defense. . . . Plus I think the next coach needs to see what's here."

JMU 72, GEORGE MASON 64: Daniel Freeman scored four of his game-high 24 points in overtime, and the host Dukes held the Patriots scoreless in the extra period.

Terry Reynolds (15 points) made a layup with five seconds left in regulation for the Patriots to tie the game at 64 and send it into overtime.

Dwayne Broyles scored 19 points for the Dukes (6-14, 3-9 Colonial Athletic Association). Jai Lewis had 19 points to lead the Patriots (14-7, 7-5).

• BUCKNELL 67, AMERICAN 62: In Lewisburg, Pa., Kevin Bettencourt scored 20 points and Charles Lee added 16 to lead the Bison.

Bucknell (9-12, 5-3 Patriot) led 61-59 with 24 seconds to go, but Lee hit four free throws and Bettencourt made two to seal the win. The Eagles (11-11, 5-3) were led by Jernavis Draughn's 17 points. Andre Ingram added 16.

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