Long scoring droughts with scattered brief flurries marked Lafayette's 64-52 victory over Navy tonight.
The game did have one memorable moment. One night after Les Henson's 89-foot game-winning shot for Virginia Tech. Mid guard David Brooks connected on a similar one-handed heave from 80 feet to end the first half.
Lafayette managed to nurse a consistent seven-point lead through the second half. The Mids pulled within 46-42 with 5:13 left as forward John Geshay scored six points in two minutes. The Leopards were quickly rescued by forward Tom Best, who scored five straight points, including a crucial three-point play. From there the Leopards converted foul shots to put the game out of reach.
"Not a very good show," said dejected Navy Coach Bob Hamilton, whose postgame beration of his team was easily audible through closed locker-room doors. "Their zone was very tough, but we were not very aggressive."
Leopard Coach Willie Chipman said, "It was just that kind of game . . . slow. They (Navy) were behind eight or nine points and playing a drop-back zone. So we were in no rush to run up the court and fire it up. The impetus was on them. We were happy with a seven-point lead as long as they sat back in the zone."
Lafayette was led by guard Mike Whitman with 16 points and Bob Falconiero, who had 14. Best, who scored just 10 points, was the man the Leopards called on when they needed points.
"I thought we got a good team effort tonight," said Chipman. "But our one-three-one zone defense was the story."
In the first half, Lafayette slowly built up a 25-18 lead. With one minute left in the half, the Leopards tried to hold for one shot. Navy pinched the ball free with four seconds remaining. It wound up in the hands of Brooks, who looked up at the clock and heaved the ball from the right corner. The ball shot off the backboard and went through.
"It was just a lucky throw," said Brooks. "I don't practice it or anything. The thrill of the shot is diluted by the loss."
Navy's record fell to 7-6; Lafayette is 10-5.