by Craig Dimitri
It took a season-high 20 points from Mike Nardi, as well as strong performances from Curtis Sumpter and Dante Cunningham, to permit Villanova to finally sink Navy, 70-61, on Saturday. After the Wildcats bombarded Navy in the first half, leading 33-19 at halftime, the Navy squad was fully engaged throughout the second half and consistently refused to surrender. The Midshipmen kept firing salvos, approaching as close as 51-49 with 7:49 to play, and remained within firing range, trailing just 62-58 with 3:02 remaining and the Pavilion spectators growing nervous.
At that point, Sumpter made a key play to buoy the 'Nova fleet - he was fouled on a triple attempt and converted all three free throws, boosting the lead to 65-58 and dooming Navy to the bottom of the Schuylkill, so to speak. Villanova improved to 4-1, while Navy sank to 4-2.
The game marked the return of former VU coordinator of basketball operations Billy Lange, now the head coach of Navy, and one of the youngest head coaches in Division I basketball.
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