Kevin Sinnett and Hank Kuzma scored 24 points each and Bobby Scott supplied the needed defensive pressure last night as Navy rolled over beleaguered Penn State, 87-64.
The Mids did as they pleased on their way to their second-highest point production of the season and their 12th victory against nine defeats.
Penn State lost its 12th in a row and it was no secret why. The Lions shot enough air balls to last them a season and ended up shooting a dismal 38 per cent from the field.
Navy, with Sinnett and Kuzma making 16 of 26 shots between them, hit 58 per cent of its shots. At one point in the second half, the pair made 10 straight shots from the field and accounted for 19 straight Navy points.
"This was the first time in a long time we put two halves together." Coach Bob Hamilton said. "Our turnovers were the only thing I wasn't pleased with."
The Mids turned the ball over 22 times.
Hamilton was particularly pleased with hid team's defense, and especially with Scott's.
The Mids played man-to-man most of the game and Scott was assigned to Penn State's Jeff Miller.
In short, Miller is the Penn State offense. He wnet into the game averaging 18.2 points and shooting 46 per cent.
He went 3-for-14 from the field last night and was a tired and frustrated gunner when he went to the bench with five minutes to play.
"The plan was to not give Miller any uncontested shots," Hamilton said. "He got only one in the first half and two in the second. We knew he would keep shooting. We just wanted to make it tough on him. Bobby did just that."
"I was just trying to deny him the ball," Scott said. "I was keeping track of how often he got the ball and there was one stretch where he went six minutes without even getting a shot."
With Miller out of their offense, the Lions were a disorganized mess and did not offer much resistence.
Gravin Jefferson, a former Coolidge High School player who led Penn State with 12 points, scored the first two times he touched the ball and Penn State took a 6-2 lead. But the Mids responded with a 19-4 burst and the game was as good as over.
Navy led by as many as 14 points in the first half and never by less than 12 in the second.
The Mids even came out of their usually conservative system with some behind-the-back dribbling by Vic Smith and some fancy lob passes inside to Kuzma. The prettiest was made by Chuck Greene. He lofted the ball perfectly at the rim to guide the ball in with one hand. That gave Navy a 63-44 lead with nine minutes left.
In addition to their offensive show, Sinnett and Kuzma collected 24 rebounds between them, with Sinnett getting 15.