Lehigh had more turnovers than field goals today and still beat Navy, 55-53. If the Mids did anything right, it was not evident to Coach Paul Evans or the 850 folks who wandered out to Halsey Field House two hours early for the big wrestling match against Wilkes.
Navy made only 42 percent of its free throws and 39 percent of its fieldgoad attempts. It blew six layups in the first half, besides failing on the front end of four of six one-and-one free throw tries.
Still, with 3:43 remaining in the game, Lehigh had lost the ball enough times -- it finished with 26 -- to permit Navy to pull within two points when Myron Simons converted a fine pass from Rich Davidson. Incredibly, neither team scored again.
Simons failed on the front end of one-and-one opportunities with 2:16 remaining and again with 57 seconds on the clock. Then, with 13 seconds left, a jump ball followed a similar failure by Lehigh's Kevin Riley.
Navy's Gary Price outleaped Charles Blue, but he ball went off Davidison's hands out of bounds, prompting Evans to scream, "I don't believe it."
With eight seconds left, Blue missed a free throw, but he recovered the rebound and was fouled again with four seconds to go. This foul was ruled intentional, but Blue missed twice, giving the Mids a last chance. Kevin Cotherman's desperation shot sailed over the backboard, however, and Navy fell to 1-3 Lehigh, a 35-point loser to Temple Thursday, is 3-1.
Besides losing the game, the Mids lost senior center John Geshay for an undetermined time after he fell heavily under the Lehigh basket in the first half and twisted his knee. He had been playing less because of ankle injuries.
"Fouls and layups, we couldn't get the taps: nothing. We're fairly strong, but we're not quick to go with it and a quicker quy can be more physical. We lacked leasership out there. Geshat may be it. When he goes down, the guys lose some confidence."
Although Navy led only twice, at 4-2 and 6-4, Lehigh nver was poised eough to pull away. The Engineers broke the game's 11th and last deadlock on a four-point play with 12:33 remaining.
Mike Power, hit a jump shot and Paul Hanks, simultaneously fouled underneath by Davidson, sank two free throws for a 45-41 Lehigh lead. The Engineers went on to build their biggest bulge of the game at 53-47. Then, after two Navy baskets, Blue made the most of Riley's assist to score Lehigh's last points with 3:57 to play. Simons concluded the scoring 14 seconds later.
Navy's frustration reached its peak with Lehigh ahead, 21-47. Davidson crashed into Lehigh's Fred Ketcho and was called for charging. Davidson, sitting on the court, angrily bounced the ball -- and hit himself in the chin.