This has been a disastrous first season for Navy Coach Paul Evans. His best center won't be able to play again this season, his leading scorer has a bad ankle, his substitutes are three freshmen and a player he cut before the season -- and earlier he was stranded in Buffalo.
Fortunately for him, the Westminister (Pa.) college basketball team arrived tonight for a game with the Mids. The Titans were just what the doctor ordered for the hosts, who broke a four-game losing streak with a ragged 58-49 victory before 450 fans in Halsey Field House. The Mids boosted their record to 7-12, while the visitors fell to 10-8.
"We're beat up so much that we're lucky we can get enough bodies to play," Evans said."I'm not going to say that this win is going to give us some confidence but if we hadn't won I don't think we would have won another game all year."
The Mids seemed intent on justifying Evans' fears in the first half. With Jerry Woods hitting from long range, the Titans grabbed a 21-10 lead midway in the half. After a timeout and a stern lecture from Evans, the Mids slowly awoke and cut the deficit to 29-25 by halftime. After shooting 34 percent, Navy was fortunate to be that close.
"We were kind of sleeping," said guard Dave Brooks, who led Navy with 14 points. "We've had a lot of people sick, and it took a while to get going. And I think we were taking them too lightly."
If so, such frivolity ended with the second-half tap. Using a full-court press that baffled Westminster's guards, Navy took the lead for good at 37-35 when Brooks banked home a basket with 11:29 remaining. Navy then quelled repeated efforts by the visitors and stayed comfortably ahead for the rest of the game.
"When you're 6-12," Evans said, "beating a Girl Scout team feels good."