When a basketball team is struggling through a 2-20 season, its coach tends to possess a short fuse. Manhattan's Brian Mahoney blew up with only 7 minutes 40 seconds gone today and watched the rest of the Jaspers' 21st defeat from the stands.
Mahoney's ejection, along with three technical fouls, helped Navy score 10 points without a change of possession as it expanded a 12-6 lead to 22-6 and went on to win, 76-55.
A personal foul on Manhattan's Sergio Bardoii triggered Mahoney's explosion. It was the Jaspers' seventh, compared with Navy's two, and it sent the Mids into an early one-and-one situation.
Navy's Chuck Greene converted both free throws and, before Manhattan could inbound the ball, referee Stan Rote called a technical on the protesting Mahoney. John Geshay made the two free throws, the Mids received possession and David Brooks his from the corner.
A two-point turnaround had become six and Mahoney, enraged, screamed at the officials. This time it was referee Larry Hill's turn to signal a T at Mahoney. He kept signaling as Mahoney kept screaming, ejected the coach and gave him one minute to leave the floor.
While Mahoney was turning the reins over to assistant Toney Yankovich, Geshay made two of four free throws. Then with Navy still in possession, Greene netted a jump shot for a 22-6 edge.
That 10-point present marked Navy's margin at the intermission as Deucey Hughes sank Manhattan's last 10 points of the half to close the gap. Hughes did not score again, however, and Navy easily pulled away from a Manhattan team that managed to make only 11 of 30 second-half shots. Geshay ws a 20-point man for the third straight game, finishing with four field goals and 12 of 15 free throws. David Brooks hit eight of 11 from far outside for 16 points and Myron Simmons and Tim McDonnell celebrated with dunks as the Mids evened their record at 11-11.
Mahoney, whose two-year record is an unhappy 8-41, sat quietly in the stands until the finish. He did not raise his voice during his postgame comments, either.
"They took the game away from the kids," Mahoney said. "The officiating was disgraceful. It was outright thievery and that's the first time I've ever said that, even though we've played in a lot of parts of the country.
"I've never been thrown out before, but this probably won't be the last, if we keep coming back here."
Manhattan, decimated by academic ineligibility and player withdrawals, had been forced to fill out its team with walk-ons. One of its two victories has Navy envious, though because it was a one-point decision over Army.
The Mids entertain Lycoming Monday, then visit West Point Saturday before entering the ECAC South playoffs. Coach Bob hamilton, a winner in his three previous seasons at Navy, still has high hopes of going four for four.