Sitapha Savane scored a career-high 25 points to help Navy awaken from an early-season offensive slumber and defeat Air Force, 93-78, before 1,298 yesterday at Alumni Hall.
Savane, a 6-foot-8 senior center, also had eight rebounds and five blocked shots, and Navy gained its first victory of the season after averaging 57 points in six-point losses to Rice and Richmond and a 35-point rout by Wake Forest.
Savane's previous career high of 22 points came last season at Air Force, but he topped that yesterday by making 9 of 13 shots while Navy dominated inside. The Midshipmen shot 74 percent in the second half and 58 percent for the game, with most baskets coming from inside 10 feet.
In a major contrast from the season's first three games, Savane played aggressively from start to finish. After averaging 12.7 points per game last season, he had totaled 27 in Navy's first three games this season. But yesterday, he repeatedly drove to the basket and drew enough fouls to shoot 10 free throws, of which he made seven.
"That's the Sitapha Savane we want around the basket," Navy Coach Don DeVoe said.
Said Savane: "I was being hesitant on my shots in the other games. I was being a little too conservative, and today I figured I had to step up,"
The rest of Navy's front-court players also had good performances, with forward Chris Williams totaling 17 points and eight rebounds, and forward Robert Reeder 11 points and eight rebounds.
"They were beating us up inside," said Air Force Coach Reggie Minton, whose team fell to 1-3. "We got off to a slow start, and we spotted them too many points."
Navy had no real size advantage, but the Midshipmen were much quicker near the basket and outrebounded Air Force, 49-35. Navy also blocked 11 shots while the Falcons blocked none.
Navy led from the start after Savane knocked the opening tip to Williams, who raced in for a layup just three seconds into the game. The Midshipmen pulled away in the first half, taking a 45-25 halftime lead.
Air Force kept matters competitive during much of the second half, as Tyron Wright (26 points) and Jarvis Croff (24 of 26 points in the second half) began hitting outside shots. But the Falcons got no closer than 13 points.
* VIRGINIA 70, ARIZONA ST. 64: Keith Friel and Willie Dersch led a late-game comeback, combining for 10 of Virginia's final 15 points to lead the Cavaliers to fifth place in the Puerto Rico Shootout in Bayamon.
Dersch and Friel took over when star Donald Hand, who led the Cavaliers (4-1) with 19 points, got his fourth foul and had to come out.
Dersch had only one basket when he hit consecutive shots to bring the Cavaliers to within 60-59. He fed a wide open Chris Williams for the go-ahead basket and then extended the lead with a foul shot.
Friel, who also had made just one shot, then nailed a three-pointer and hit two free throws. Virginia led 68-62 with 1:09 left, and Arizona State (2-2) could not catch up.
The Sun Devils took their biggest lead, 56-51, with 7:22 left and Hand on the bench. But they made three baskets--and committed five turnovers--the rest of the way.
Shawn Redhage scored 16 points and Eddie House 13 for Arizona State.
* DELAWARE 58, AMERICAN 57: Mike Pegues had 32 points, 27 in the first half, and 10 rebounds to lead Delaware (4-0). Hasheem Alexander missed a 15-footer from the left side with one second left, ending a failed comeback attempt for American (2-1), which trailed 40-30 at halftime.
Patrick Doctor had 24 points and seven rebounds and Tim Washington added eight points and eight rebounds for American, which held Delaware to 5-for-24 shooting in the second half.
Delaware's Madou Diouf provided the winning margin when he made 1 of 2 free throws with 18 seconds left.
Georgetown at Nevada-Las Vegas, 4:05
Others: Gallaudet vs. Franklin & Marshall at Gallaudet Holiday Tournament, noon; Catholic vs. Scranton, 3:30
Terrapin Classic at Maryland:
Consolation: West Virginia
vs. Coppin State, 2
Final: Maryland vs.
UNC Charlotte, 4
Virginia vs. Washington at Rainbow Wahine Classic in Honolulu, 2 p.m.
Others: Gallaudet Holiday Tournament: (Consolation, 2; Final, 4)