Brown 97, Navy Men 92
Put on the court by Coach Don DeVoe to make a statement about leadership and commitment, Navy's five seniors started the second half of yesterday's nonconference game against Brown and pulled the Midshipmen back from a 20-point deficit and into a late lead. Then a sophomore point guard and a reserve junior forward stole the game back for the Bears, who escaped with a 97-92 overtime victory before 944 fans at Alumni Hall.
Behind career highs from seniors Quintrell McCreary (19 points), Jason Jeanpierre (27 points) and Francis Ebong (21 points), Navy (2-2) was on its way to a memorable victory. Jeanpierre hit a jump shot with 5 minutes 45 seconds left in regulation to put the Midshipmen ahead, 77-75.
Navy built the lead to five points with just more than a minute remaining, then lost its composure.
Brown's Patrick Powers, the junior forward who was filling in for injured all-Ivy League guard Earl Hunt (Good Counsel), made a three-pointer with 59 seconds left.
Then sophomore guard Jason Forte (The Heights), playing in front of a host of family and friends, hit the jumper that sent the contest to overtime. The pair combined to score eight points in the extra session and lead the Bears (1-4) to their first win of the season.
"This was a beautiful experience, especially during the holidays," Forte said. "We looked up, and we realized we were 0-4 and that we didn't have time to worry about fatigue."
Starting for just the ninth time in his career, Powers was effective inside and from the perimeter and finished with 32 points on 12-for-16 shooting. Forte had 22 points -- 11 from the free throw line -- and seven assists.
"All the credit in the world to a Brown team, winless and losing their best player, all the guys on the Brown team really rallied," DeVoe said. "When it appeared they couldn't win the game or were out of it, they rallied with a great effort. We still have a chance to make a play at the end, and we still can't handle the basketball. The part of this game is that it's over for us. Where we go from here, I would not venture to guess."
The Bears had their way with Navy in the first half and were unstoppable inside, as Powers made five layups on his way to 16 points by the break. Forte was masterful with the ball, routinely finding his teammates with ample space and time behind the three-point arc.
Brown made 5 of 9 three-point attempts in the first half.
Navy stepped up its open-court defense in the second half, forcing 11 turnovers and looking inside to Ebong and McCreary, who combined for 25 points. The Midshipmen seemed to tire as overtime approached, however, and did not play the added five minutes as crisply.
"Basketball is a game of runs and you have to deal with it," Ebong said. "We have to go into our next game confident, regardless of whether we won or lost. You have to go into every game confident. We didn't really come out to play today."