For the first time in many years, Navy has some good players on the basketball court. The Midshipmen defeated Harvard, 81-57, today to improve to 5-1, their best start since the 1959-60 team won its first six.

Most impressive was senior guard Dave Brooks, who scored 20 points and became the seventh Navy player to surpass 1,000 for his career. Brooks made 10 of 15 shots and looked like a winner at a playground game of "H-O-R-S-E." Eight shots came from 20 feet or farther.

"Navy played extremely well," said Harvard Coach Frank McLaughlin. "They're getting a lot out of their players. To look at them individually, they're not super, but they play well as a unit. Brooks shoots extremely well and (Cliff) Maurer is tough underneath."

Maurer, at 6-foot-10 the biggest player in Navy history, was an intimidating force underneath. He blocked eight shots, believed to be a school record, and had 12 points and six rebounds. Navy's top rebounder was Vernon Butler, the 6-7 freshman from High Point High School, with eight.

Forward Dick Knar made five of six shots for 10 points and had five rebounds. Guard Jim Kuzma was four for five for eight points and guard Rob Romaine, who played 26 minutes in a reserve role, finished with 10 assists and 12 points.

"The kids were shooting pretty well. They were executing and they were doing a lot of good things out there," said Navy Coach Paul Evans. "Knar gives us a lift, because they have to guard him, and that leaves Brooks open. Kuzma can shoot, too, and it makes it tough to zone us."

Harvard tried, opening with a 2-3 alignment, but within 6 1/2 minutes the Crimson was going man-to-man after trailing by 15-4. Harvard made only two of its first 13 shots.

But the Crimson began working the ball inside with more patience and was able to get enough offensive rebounds to close the gap. In less than five minutes, Harvard outscored Navy, 15-2, and tied the game at 25.

Brooks returned, Navy applied some full-court pressure and Harvard managed only one point in the last 4 1/2 minutes of the half. Navy pulled away to a 37-26 lead.

Harvard (2-3) was playing without its top scorer, forward Joe Carrabino, who has a bad back. Substitute center Monroe Trout had 16 points and guard Bobby Ferry, of De Matha High School, had 14.