Plebe guard David Brooks hit 11 of 14 shots, eight in a row, for a 23-point game as Navy boosted its record to 9-6 with a 72-63 decision over Fordham tonight.
Brooks' performance was the only item worth remembering in a 58-foul travesty that required more than two hours to complete, even without television timeouts.
Brooks made seven of eight, six from long range, in the first 15 minutes as the Mids breezed to a 28-14 lead. Then he was called for his third personal foul, was ordered to the bench and watched the Rams creep within 33-24 by halftime.
Fordham was able to get that close because Navy managed only five of nine free throws, missing the front end of four one-and-ones, and committed 12 turnovers in the opening 20 minutes.
Certainly, Fordham did nothing much for its own cause. The Rams made only seven of 28 shots and for 18 minutes, between first basket of the half to the last, did not produce a field goal from a distance greater than three feet from the basket.
For six minutes, while Navy burst from a 4-4 tie to a 10-4 lead, Fordham did not score a point. For 10 minutes, until the margin had become 18-8, the Rams did not manage a field goal.
The Rams rallied to 35-30 early in the second half, but Myron Simons followed up a John Geshay miss and Geshay scored off a Brooks pass before Brooks connected from his favorite spot, in the corner. It was 41-30 and Fordham, now 6-10, would never again threaten seriously.
There was considerable doubt whether the game would ever end, however, as officials Vince Pugliese and Bill Brill wore out their whistles. There was perhaps some reason for Fordham to commit 27 violations trying to come back, but Navy's 31 fouls were difficult to fathom.
Late in the game, the Mids went five minutes without a point while Fordham's full-court press reduced a 58-43 deficit to 58-50. Then the free-throw parade commenced and the Mids, pathetic at the time in losing to Yale a week ago, sank 12 of 15 attempts before Bruce Grooms' dunk provided the finishing touch.
In the last 2 minutes 7 seconds, 14 personal fouls were called, eight against Fordham.
The Rams were handicapped by the loss of their 7-foot Sudanese center, Dud Hongal, who was idled by back spasms, said sophomore Tony Foust, their third best scorer, who left the team Friday to concentrate on his studies.
Nevertheless, Coach Tom Penders gave the game everything he had. He wandered along the sidelines, spreading his arms and looking pained, although he was not really seeking more fouls on Navy.
"I want some consistency here" was one plea to the officials. Another followed a step onto the court by Navy Coach Bob Hamilton: "Get him off the floor. I guess you can't call a technical in this building."
Maybe not, but there was no restriction on personals.