ANNAPOLIS, JAN. 4 -- It's already been a long season for Navy, all crammed into a month, and now even the scarce victories turn bittersweet. Cliff Rees scored 23 points and Matt Nordmann a career-high 17 to help the Midshipmen end their longest losing streak in 15 years by beating The Citadel, 79-67, tonight -- but Navy lost forward Derric Turner to a knee injury expected to sideline him four to six weeks.

"We played better and it's great to get a win we really needed {after six losses}, but it's just devastating to lose a kid like that," Coach Pete Herrmann said.

Six minutes into the game, Turner landed awkwardly in a heap with the Bulldogs' James Bishop. Turner powered for a layup despite Bishop's blocking foul, then hit the floor screaming. X-rays confirmed a dislocated knee, and Turner will require a cast and, possibly, surgery.

Turner, a 6-foot-7 junior out of Lake Braddock High School in Burke, Va., came into the game averaging 13.1 points and 12.4 rebounds. He was fourth in the nation in rebounding in the latest NCAA statistics. "He was looking more and more like {recent Navy star Vernon} Butler every day," Herrmann said. "Hard work, a leader by example . . . It's just such a shame."

Without Turner, and with 6-9 freshman Darren Morningstar sitting on the bench on indefinite suspension by the Academy at least until week's end, Rees took charge.

Teamed with a collection of first- and second-year players, the senior captain moved from small forward back to his natural shooting guard spot and excelled.

Turner scored seven of Navy's first nine points after guard Leon Bryant staked The Citadel (2-5) to a 6-0 lead with a pair of three-pointers. But once he departed, Rees was equally potent.

Down, 60-49, the Bulldogs rallied to 66-62 with full-court pressure and three-point goals. But Navy (2-6) sank 11 of 12 foul shots down the stretch. THE CITADEL Min FG FT R A PF T Hill 32 3-10 3-7 9 1 2 9 Stevens 33 5-7 0-1 7 2 4 10 Dalley 22 0-4 0-0 4 2 0 0

Halftime: Navy, 38-37.

Three-point goals: Citadel 8-29 (Bryant 3-8, Nesbit 2-8, Conroy 3-12, Smith 0-1). Navy 3-6 (Rees 3-5, Jones

A -- 2,321.