ANNAPOLIS, DEC. 7 -- Exams start Tuesday at the Naval Academy. But tonight, instead of cramming, the members of its basketball team were at Halsey Field House playing the academy's first game ever against Towson State.
They would have had a better time in Nimitz Library.
Trailing by two points at halftime, the Midshipmen went without a field goal for the first five minutes of the second half and went on to lose, 79-62.
Junior forward Derric Turner had 14 points and 19 rebounds, but he couldn't prevent Navy's fourth straight defeat after a season-opening victory, its longest losing streak since 1981-82.
"I have six exams before Friday," said junior guard Bobby Jones. "I know I was thinking about that a little."
After taking a 6-0 lead, the Midshipmen allowed Towson State (2-2) to score the game's next 12 points. They later fell behind by seven points, but came back to trail by just 32-30 at halftime.
However, on its first eight second-half possessions, Navy went zero for four from the field, two for four at the free throw line and committed two turnovers. Meantime, the Tigers' first eight possessions were resulting in 14 points and a 46-32 lead.
The Midshipmen again battled back and were within 52-45 with 10 minutes to play. But for the rest of the game, nearly every one of Navy's forward steps was followed by a backward pair.
After playing excellent defense for 43 seconds, Jones let Michael Fink (17 points) score on a difficult 15-foot jump shot. Then as freshman guard Erik Harris (eight assists) brought the ball upcourt, Marty Johnson (21 points) sneaked in and knocked it away. Harris fouled Johnson going for the loose ball and referee Len Armstrong decided the foul was intentional. That led to three more points and Navy was behind, 57-45.
The Midshipmen cut their deficit to 59-52 and had a chance to get within five, but freshman guard Mel Davis missed the front of a one-and-one and then committed a blocking foul.
Johnson converted that into two free throws.
Finally, there was freshman center Darren Morningstar's foul away from the ball that gave Fink the opportunity to get back immediately two of the three points scored on Cliff Rees' 21-footer with 3:33 left. Towson outscored Navy, 12-5, the rest of the way.
"When you're playing with three and sometimes four freshmen at once, you've got to be patient," said Navy Coach Pete Herrmann, whose team played without 6-foot-9 sophomore center Byron Hopkins (knee injury).
"They have to learn what it takes to be successful and they have to mature. The only way that's going to happen is for them to play." TOWSON STATE Min FG FT R A PF T Bays 28 3-5 6-6 6 3 2 13 Basey 26 5-8 1-2 1 1 2 11 Dorsey 29 2-4 3-5 9 1 3 7 Fink
Halftime: Towson State, 32-30.
Three-point goals: Towson 4-6 (Johnson 2-3, Bays 1-1, Fink 1-2); Navy 5-15 (Jones 3-4, Gottschalk 1-2, Rees
Bridgewater 91, Columbia Union 66:
Bob Yeatts scored 20 points and led four Bridgewater players in double
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Beth Shearer had 27 points and 10 rebounds for AU.
The Bison are 5-2, the Eagles 0-4.
Catholic 68, Western Md. 62:
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