Navy, a team that rebounds well without a big man, remained unbeaten this season at Halsey Field House with a 68-60 basketball victory over Catholic University tonight.
The Mids, now 9-6 overall, captured their seventh home win on the basis of their overall rebounding superiority and a 16-6 edge off points following offensive rebounds.
With their tallest starter at 6-foot-6 and basically the same front-line players who were outrebounded a year ago, Navy now has outrebounded 13 of its 15 opponents, including Georgetown and Maryland, by 11 per game. Tonight they outrebounded CU, 42-27.
As big a turnaround as Navy's rebounding edge is the shooting of Glenn Kolonics, CU's College Division all-America a year ago, Kolonics went into this game with 41.4 per cent accuracy and did not improve it with a nine-for-23 shooting night.
Nowhere were Kolonics' troubles more evident than when Catholic closed a 51-40 deficit to 53-52 and had possession of the ball with five minutes to play. Kolonics missed a 12-foot-jumper. The miss, along with Navy coach Bob Hamilton's return of starting guards Leo Latonick and Bob Scott to the lineup, stopped the Cardinal momentum.
They never had a chance to take the lead again.
Catholic coach Jack Kvanez can't explain where Kolonics lost his jump shot, nor can Kolonics, who finally has some players with ability around him.
"If you were to say to me in the summer. 'What is your strength?'. I'd just say, 'I'm going to get the ball to Kolonics. We're going to show those Division I teams what he can do.' He's working his butt off in practice and everything. The ball's just not going in."
He was guarded well by Bob Scott tonight. But the 6-3 guard still missed some open shots that were practically automatic baskets a year ago.
Kvancz said he would be happy - and the Cardinals might have reversed their four losses by four points or less in this 4-8 season - if Kolonics were only hitting with his sophomore accuracy, 45 per cent.
"I've been getting down on myself and I'm not as in good shape this year. I don't know why," Kolonics said after tonight's game. "I'm aiming the ball: I'm not following through. I'm pushing my shot. I've been shooting extra after practice . . . I don't think Division I play has anything to do with it . . . I'm just frustrated."
But Kolonics cannot bear the complete blame of tonight's loss. Kevin Dziwulski, a 6-6 center who normally contributes nine points and six rebounds a game, the Cards only two points and two rebounds. CU also was not patient enough on offense.
Navy was, as the Mids have been in a season in which they now take 11 days off for exams. It results in open shots and balanced scoring, such as tonight when Kevin Sinnett scored 16 points, Hank Kuzma 15, Scott 13, Barry Wilbur 10 and reserve center Brooks Boatwright eight.
Sinnett had 11 of his game-high 12 rebounds by halftime, when the Mids had 37-28 control because their 25-11 rebounding edge for the half resulted in 12 following-up points.
"They do it on position a great job," acknowledged Kvancz. "See how many times they leave their feet on defense. They stick a hand in your face and then they get good position."
Hamilton said he was pleased with the Mids' zest to play tonight since they had three big games - Air Force, Georgetown and Maryland in the past two weeks and exams start Wednesday,. "The 11-day break is welcome," he said.