James Madison entered tonight's game with Navy as the nation's third-leading defensive team and left it as an admirer of 6-foot-11 Midshipman David Robinson.
Robinson scored 17 points, had 10 rebounds and blocked a school-record 10 shots to lead Navy to a 79-65 ECAC-South victory before 4,155 at Halsey Field House.
It was the 33rd victory in its last 35 home games for Navy, which raised its record to 7-3 overall, 4-0 in the conference. The victory was the Midshipmen's fifth in a row.
The Dukes, 6-6 overall and 0-1 in conference play, entered the game with the intention of limiting Robinson's scoring and managed to hold the sophomore nine points below his average.
But Navy countered by distributing the scoring load, with four players finishing in double figures to thwart Coach Lou Campanelli's strategy.
The Midshipmen also helped their cause with accurate outside shooting, making 31 of 49 shots from the field (63.2 percent).
Cliff Rees (16 points) made eight of 11 field goal attempts and fellow starting guard Doug Wojcik (18 points) made five of eight to frustrate a variety of man-to-man and zone defenses.
"Tonight proved to me that we're not a one-man team," said Navy Coach Paul Evans. "Tonight, our top scorer gets triple-teamed and Vernon Butler has a subpar game, but the three other guys helped carry us.
"This was also David's (Robinson) best defensive game and still there were a few lapses by him, letting people slip inside him for position. But it was a tremendous improvement."
Both teams started sluggishly before Navy's Doug Wojcik scored on a jumper at the 13:05 mark that broke an 11-11 tie. Kylor Whittaker converted another jumper and Butler stole the ball and threw a three-quarter-court outlet pass to Cliff Rees to make the score 17-11.
Eric Esch answered with a basket for the Dukes, but Wojcik and Robinson scored for Navy to increase the Midshipmen's lead to 21-15.
Todd Banks countered with a 10-foot jumper, but Navy then scored four straight baskets (two by Butler) to go ahead, 29-15, with 4:19 remaining in the half.
James Madison tried to outmuscle Navy at the beginning of the second half and cut the deficit to 39-29. But the Midshipmen then outscored the visitors, 15-6, behind two baskets by Rees and nine points by Robinson, for a 54-35 lead with 11:31 left.