Navy, fighting the flu and William & Mary's pinpoint passing, earned in A for courage last night. In the end, however, the visiting Indians placed an F next to the Mids' hopes of an ECAC playoff berth.
With all five starters among the sufferers from a brigadewide attack of flu, Navy seemed hopelessly beaten, 13 points behind with just six minutes to play. But the halt and the inflamed waged a full-court pressure defense that came within a spinout of a tie before William & Mary prevailed, 70-62.
"I don't have any quitters, no question of that," said Navy coach Bob Hamilton. "With the kind of people we have, you expect things like that. But we've come back like that a couple of times and we haven't won.We need to shore up in the middle of the game."
It was 57-44 before Navy, in 2 1/2 minutes, was able to pull within three points at 58-55. Six of the 11 points were produced by Kevin Sinnett, including a steal off the Mids' press.
A three-point play by Sinnett, who rammed in a rebound of his own miss, brought Navy within two, 64-62, with 1:36 to play. Mike Enoch's miss on a one-and-one opportunity gave the Mids possession and the clock was just moving into the final minute when Sinnett turned and shot from close range. The ball hung agonizingly, then rolled out, and Navy's playoff chances, about as sick as the players before this game, were dead.
It was a heartbreaking resuit for Sinnett, whose year-long goal was a playoff chance. He had been bed-ridden Sunday and Monday, and three times during the first half he was forced to sit on the bench, wrapped in jacket and towel. Still, he finished with 19 points, high for the Mids, now 10-9.
William and Mary, its record boosted to 14-6, made 60 percent of its shots, utilizing accurate inside passing to free John Lowenhaupt and Enoch for easy layups. Lowenhaupt was high with 21 points, hitting seven of nine from the field and all seven free-throw attempts.
The Indians made their first 13 foul shots and finished with 22 of 27. The partisan crowd of 1,750 didn't appreciate the steady parade of green game at Loyola in Baltimore, which was called off, and were shifted here were unable to leave snowbound Allentown, Pa.
The most embarrassed critic was Cmdr. Philip Quast, the officer representative for the Navy basketball team. He was wearing five rows of campaign ribbons on his uniform, but the good-conduct badge was in jeopardy after he was assessed a technical foul.
[TEXT OMITTED FROM SOURCE] and gold foul shooters and repeatedly shooted officials Joe Forte and Mike Vignola, who really didn't want to be here. They were assigned to a [TEXT OMITTED FROM SOURCE]
"I don't even know what I said," the red-faced Quast said afterward. He also noted that he was the pay-master for the officials and was wondering about the possibility of stopping payment on their check.
"That's the first time I ever saw an officer representative get a technical foul," said trainer Red Romo, who ran down the lengthy list of flu victims and commented, "I'm sick after that game."
Hamilton was second guessing himself for removing Hank Kuzma, a 10-point, 10-rebound man, while Sinnett was also resting late in the first half. A 29-29 tie became a 37-30 Indian sign by intermission and, despite a slow second-half start by William and Mary, it became 43-32 when Navy missed eight straight shots during a five-minute scoreless stretch.
"I'm not pleased with my coaching," Hamilton said. "I took hank out because he had two fouls and I didn't want a third. But I think maybe it was a mistake. I think we're going to have a heck of a team here in a couple of years. I hope I'm around to see it."