- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 24, 2002

ANNAPOLIS Somebody failed to tell Navy not to leave the backdoor wide open.

Lafayette shredded the Midshipmen on back cuts all evening and recorded the fourth-best shooting percentage ever against a Navy team in a 92-79 Patriot League victory before 2,242 last night at Alumni Hall.

The Leopards, who shot 68 percent from the floor for the game, broke from a halftime tie to score 16 of the first 18 points of the second half, and after Lafayette took an 11-point lead with 10:40 to go, its lead never dipped below double digits the rest of the way. The defeat dropped Navy (8-12, 3-2) from a first-place tie in the Patriot.

"There needs to be a commitment to play defense, to stop people," Navy coach Don DeVoe said. "I assume responsibility. It was a real schooling by Lafayette against my team."

Lafayette got 18 points and a career-high tying 11 assists from forward Brian Burke and a career-high 22 points from Mike Farrell. Navy forward Kyle Barker drilled a career-high seven 3-pointers, tied for second-best in program history, but got little offensive support. Navy surrendered at least 85 points for the third straight game.

Rival Lafayette has won six of the last eight games against Navy, though last night was just the second defeat in Annapolis during that stretch. The loss was just Navy's second to a nonranked opponent at Alumni Hall this season.

The Leopards jumped on the Mids at the start of both halves, and while Navy recovered in the first, it couldn't in the second. Lafayette kept the Mids at arm's length with one basket after another on back cuts.

Three-point specialist Barker (game-high 23 points) was Navy's only consistent offensive threat last night; take away Barker's 7-for 12 shooting, and the Mids shot 34.1 percent from the field.

If the Mids were guilty of anything, it was playing too aggressively they constantly overplayed passing lanes, leaving themselves open for back cuts, and they committed eight team fouls in the first seven minutes of the second half, putting the Leopards in a free throw shooting situation the rest of the game.

"They fit the way we play," Lafayette coach Fran O'Hanlon said. "We used their aggressiveness against them."

The Leopards were playing their fourth game in eight days all on the road but it hardly showed last night.

The Midshipmen immediately dug themselves a hole to start the game. Navy trailed 20-4 after Mick Kuberka's 3-pointer at the 14:14 mark as the Mids started 1-for-8 from the field with eight turnovers in the first six minutes.

But Navy, which had been 7-2 at home this season, wouldn't stay down for long. Barker entered the game with under eight minutes to play in the first half and canned four 3-pointers, the last of which closed the lead to 36-32. It was 40-40 at halftime.

Barker entered the game buried on the Navy bench, having played 16 minutes in the last four games combined. He had been shooting 28.2 percent from 3-point range but found his stroke last night.

The loss left DeVoe concerned about Saturday's game against arch-rival Army, which traditionally struggles but has won two straight.

"I don't know what I'm going to do with this team," he said. "Hopefully [Army] is a game that means something."

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