Navy forward Jack Stumborg, an 83 percent shooter from the foul line, missed the front end of a one and one with eight seconds left and Old Dominion, ahead by only a point at the time, escaped with a 65-62 victory over the Midshipmen today at Halsey Field House.
Ron McAdoo dropped in two free throws three seconds later to provide the final margin of victory for the visitors.
Navy's setback represented the seventh game in the Mids' last eight in which the final margin has been five points or fewer. It was the third consecutive loss at home for Navy, now 8-9.
This defeat may have been the hardest to take. Navy dealt with everything the highly regarded Monarchs (13-3) threw its way for most of the game. The Mids grabbed an early lead and held it for the first 21:25 of the contest.
"We were standing around on defense in the first half, not challenging them," said Old Dominion Coach Paul Webb. "In the second half, I think our press finally wore them out. Meanwhile, we were able to maintain the same tempo throughout."
Old Dominion caught up when consecutive three-point plays by guard Tom Conrad tied the game at 39-all 1:25 into the second half.
Navy regained a 45-41 advantage three minues later but then went scoreless for the next 4:16. Meanwhile, freshman forward Tommy Branch, a DeMatha graduate, sank four free throws, and Ron McAdoo connected on two field goals from inside to give the visitors a 49-47 lead.
Two straight layups, plus a free throw by John Geshay -- all the result of the Mids' clinical passing to beat the Monarch press -- lifted Navy into a 52-51 lead, its last of the game.
That is when things fell apart for the Mids. In the next four minutes, Navy scored only two points: a layup by Geshay. Geshay and Kevin Sinnett both missed the front of a one and-one tries, Sinnett missed an open jumper from the baseline and Navy turned the ball over against ODU's press.
McAdoo, who scored 11 of his 17 points in the second half, hit three free throws and a short jumper during Navy's drought as the visitors emerged with their biggest lead, 60-54, with 6:18 left.
Sinnett, who finished with 20 points, then took over. He assisted on Stumborg's jumper that made it 60-56, then drew a charge from Bob Vaughn and sank the resulting free throws to reduce ODU's lead to 60-58. After Vaughn's three-point play, Sinnett drove to make it 63-60. He then forced ODU's Ronnie Valentine to turn the ball over; Stumborg's fast break layup made it 63-62 with 1:53 left.
ODU then held the ball before Stumborg forced another turnover with 28 seconds left, setting up his own last-ditch free throw-attempt.
The Monarchs sank 12 of 13 shots from the foul line in the second half.
Sinnett scored 14 in the first half to stake Navy which hit eight of its first nine shots -- to leads as large as 13 points.