Dan Ruland, the Navy brat who honed his game in the academy's gym, dealt the death blow to Navy's season tonight with a 23-point performance that carried James Madison to a 72-58 victory in the semifinals of the ECAC South Basketball Tournament.

James Madison will play William and Mary, a 48-45 winner over East Carolina, for the championship Saturday at 7:30.

Ruland, who scored 24 in a regular-season triumph over Navy, was a potent force inside, collecting the Dukes' first seven points of a game in which they never trailed. The Annapolis High School graduate recorded seven of James Madison's first 10 in the second half, too, as the Dukes pulled out to a 43-32 lead.

Navy twice reduced the deficit to four, the latest at 55-51 with 3:54 remaining, but James Madison's excellent foul shooting, 15 for 17 down the stretch, held off the Midshipmen.

Navy made only 21 of 61 shots, seven of 28 in the first half, for its worst shooting performance of the season. Dave Brooks, normally Navy's high scorer, managed only two points, getting Navy's first shot of the game and missing his next eight attempts. That basket made him the academy's No. 3 all-time scorer with 1,389 points, one more than Hank Kuzma.

Cliff Maurer, playing with a brace on his bruised left knee, led the Midshipmen with 16 points, 12 in the second half.

Derek Steele, junior playmaker out of Mount Vernon High School, scored 12 points and directed the offense for James Madison, which boosted its record to 18-10. Navy finished at 18-11, matching the highest season victory total in academy history.

James Madison, which had not played for six days, had its problems and helped keep Navy in contention with 22 turnovers.

"Navy is tough and scrappy and hard to get away from," said James Madison Coach Lou Campanelli. "They played an aggressive zone and we got anxious and it cost us a lot of turnovers. But (David) Dupont didn't let Brooks touch the ball and that was the key."

"We watched him (Brooks) play last night and we knew he didn't need much time to get those shots off," said Dupont, the senior who kept his hand in Brooks' face much of the night.

"Our big kids scored inside, but we had no outside shooting," said Navy Coach Paul Evans. "Thirty-four percent won't win against a poor team, much less a good club like James Madison. And that Ruland--he's always tough, but especially against us."

Ruland said the sight of Navy blue got the adrenaline flowing.

"I lived at the academy for six years when my father was stationed there and I played at their fieldhouse a lot," Ruland said. "I've played against a lot of these guys in pickup games and summer leagues, too. They're a tough team and they're physical inside. I like that kind of game."

Ruland was helped by Maurer's lack of maneuverability, although the 6-10 center had an excellent game offensively, making five of eight shots in the second half.

"I felt good on offense and I was posting all right, but on defense I was a step slow and they took advantage," Maurer said. "It's too bad we couldn't pull that one out. It was winnable."

The opener was winnable for underdog East Carolina, too, but the Pirates destroyed themselves with four straight turnovers after they had gained a 43-40 advantage with 3 1/2 minutes to play. James Madison Ends Navy's Season, 72-58 6------------------------------------------------------------ By Robert Fachet Washington Post Staff Writer

RICHMOND, March 11--Dan Ruland, the Navy brat who honed his game in the academy's gym, dealt the death blow to Navy's season tonight with a 23-point performance that carried James Madison to a 72-58 victory in the semifinals of the ECAC South Basketball Tournament.

James Madison will play William and Mary, a 48-45 winner over East Carolina, for the championship Saturday at 7:30.

Ruland, who scored 24 in a regular-season triumph over Navy, was a potent force inside, collecting the Dukes' first seven points of a game in which they never trailed. The Annapolis High School graduate recorded seven of James Madison's first 10 in the second half, too, as the Dukes pulled out to a 43-32 lead.

Navy twice reduced the deficit to four, the latest at 55-51 with 3:54 remaining, but James Madison's excellent foul shooting, 15 for 17 down the stretch, held off the Midshipmen.

Navy made only 21 of 61 shots, seven of 28 in the first half, for its worst shooting performance of the season. Dave Brooks, normally Navy's high scorer, managed only two points, getting Navy's first shot of the game and missing his next eight attempts. That basket made him the academy's No. 3 all-time scorer with 1,389 points, one more than Hank Kuzma.

Cliff Maurer, playing with a brace on his bruised left knee, led the Midshipmen with 16 points, 12 in the second half.

Derek Steele, junior playmaker out of Mount Vernon High School, scored 12 points and directed the offense for James Madison, which boosted its record to 18-10. Navy finished at 18-11, matching the highest season victory total in academy history.

James Madison, which had not played for six days, had its problems and helped keep Navy in contention with 22 turnovers.

"Navy is tough and scrappy and hard to get away from," said James Madison Coach Lou Campanelli. "They played an aggressive zone and we got anxious and it cost us a lot of turnovers. But (David) Dupont didn't let Brooks touch the ball and that was the key."

"We watched him (Brooks) play last night and we knew he didn't need much time to get those shots off," said Dupont, the senior who kept his hand in Brooks' face much of the night.

"Our big kids scored inside, but we had no outside shooting," said Navy Coach Paul Evans. "Thirty-four percent won't win against a poor team, much less a good club like James Madison. And that Ruland--he's always tough, but especially against us."

Ruland said the sight of Navy blue got the adrenaline flowing.

"I lived at the academy for six years when my father was stationed there and I played at their fieldhouse a lot," Ruland said. "I've played against a lot of these guys in pickup games and summer leagues, too. They're a tough team and they're physical inside. I like that kind of game."

Ruland was helped by Maurer's lack of maneuverability, although the 6-10 center had an excellent game offensively, making five of eight shots in the second half.

"I felt good on offense and I was posting all right, but on defense I was a step slow and they took advantage," Maurer said. "It's too bad we couldn't pull that one out. It was winnable."

The opener was winnable for underdog East Carolina, too, but the Pirates destroyed themselves with four straight turnovers after they had gained a 43-40 advantage with 3 1/2 minutes to play.