Navy scored 17 straight points during the last 10 minutes of the first half tonight and coasted to a 66-51 college basketball victory over William and Mary in front of 3,185 in Halsey Field House.
The Midshipmen (22-4, 12-1 in the Colonial Athletic Association) stifled the Indians (7-17, 3-10) with a 2-3 zone that allowed them only six field goals in the first half.
"For 30 minutes we played well defensively, caused some turnovers and made them shoot 21 percent in the first half," said Navy Coach Paul Evans, who otherwise was not thrilled with the play of his team, especially after it had just returned to the Associated Press top 20 poll -- at No. 17 -- for the first time since the preseason.
"We want it at the end," Evans said of the ranking. "If we can maintain that, we'll be real happy.
"It's where you are at the end of the season that counts, and if we stay there it will help us in the NCAA draw."
Evans had 19 points, 14 rebounds and eight blocked shots from junior center David Robinson and 16 points from senior guard Kylor Whitaker.
William and Mary's Scott Coval, who had 16 points in the second half, led both teams with 22.
The second half was nothing more than a chance for each squad to get a little running in. The Indians, who trailed by 35-18 at halftime, got no closer than 14 points the rest of the way and Navy led by 24 three times.
Neither team shot well in the first half, but whereas the Midshipmen were mediocre (13 for 28 for 46 percent), the Indians were dismal (six for 28 for 21 percent).
"We can't have a scoring drought against anyone, much less against Navy," William and Mary Coach Barry Parkhill said. "In the first half, we were real poor at what we were trying to do.
"If we had played close to our potential, we would have been okay, because Navy wasn't exactly lighting it up. But our guys couldn't put the ball in the ocean and they weren't aggressive."
The Midshipmen jumped to an 8-2 lead. Then Whitaker hit three in a row in just under two minutes to give Navy a 14-6 lead with 12:29 remaining in the half.
The Indians cut it to 14-12 with 10:42 left. Ken Lambiotte made two free throws after being fouled by Nathan Bailey, and Coval made two after Evans was slapped with a technical for his unkind words to the official who made the call. Then Greg Burzell hit a jumper from the left corner and the Indians trailed by two.
But then came the onslaught.
The Midshipmen ran off 17 points during the next 7:18. Bailey and Vernon Butler each hit two free throws, Doug Wojcik (who finished with nine assists) made a jumper and Robinson hit a free throw for a 21-12 lead with 7:11 to go. But wait, there was more.
Bailey went behind his back in passing to Butler for a fast-break layup. Then -- on his best play of the night -- Robinson blocked Mark Boddy's shot on the baseline, filled the lane on the fast break and threw down a thundering two-handed dunk after a pass from Wojcik.
With 3:29 left in the half, Robinson made an easy dunk off an offensive rebound to give Navy its biggest lead of the half, 31-12.