Reserve center Gary Price scored on a tap-in at the buzzer to give Navy a 60-58 victory against East Carolina in an ECAC South game tonight at Halsey Field House. It was Navy's sixth victory in its last seven games.
The Midshipmen led midway through the second half, 54-40, but nearly succumbed to a furious rally. East Carolina outscored Navy, 14-2, down the stretch and tied the score on Johnny Edwards' dunk with 24 seconds remaining.
Navy opted to play for the final shot and guard Dave Brooks tried a long jumper from the corner that fell short, but Price outfought three defenders for the ball. East Carolina protested that the winning basket was offensive goaltending.
Navy made 16 of 24 shots in the first half for a 33-26 lead as Brooks and Rob Romaine got 18 of the points.
But the Midshipmen's long-range shooting turned cold in the second half, and they had to rely on a stingy 2-3 zone defense. Freshman Vernon Butler from High Point High School, the ECAC South rookie of the week, controlled both backboards and denied East Carolina second shots. He finished as the game's leading rebounder with 12.
Brooks led all scores with 21 points, while Edwards paced the Pirates with 16. Navy is now 11-5 overall and 2-1 in conference play; East Carolina fell to 9-9 and 1-4.