ANNAPOLIS, JAN. 23 -- While former all-America David Robinson was a Midshipman, Navy defeated George Mason five consecutive times. But Robinson is gone and George Mason junior forward Kenny Sanders doesn't miss him one bit.

Able to work inside almost at will against an inexperienced Navy team, 6-foot-4 Sanders scored 23 points and grabbed 19 rebounds, much of that coming in the second half as the Patriots pulled away to an 80-68 Colonial Athletic Association victory before 2,730 tonight at Halsey Field House.

"It's about time. I sure don't miss him {Robinson}," said Sanders, the CAA's leading scorer and rebounder, smiling in celebration of his team's third consecutive win. "He must have blocked my shot more than anyone in America. It was nice to get open and work under the basket. Danny {Deane} and Robert {Dykes} both played well and that opened up things for me."

Sanders, perhaps having flashbacks of the 7-foot Robinson, got open early and often, but missed a handful of easy shots. His misses combined with some uninspired play by teammates and a hot shooting hand by Navy's Joe Gottschalk allowed the struggling Midshipmen (3-11, 0-5 in the CAA) to stay in the game for at least one half.

Navy's starting lineup combined for only 16 points but Gottschalk came off the bench to score 16, hitting six of seven from the field including two from three-point range, as Navy trailed only 38-32 at halftime.

But George Mason (10-6, 3-2) tightened up on Gottschalk (one of two shots in the second half to finish with 19 points), forced some turnovers off its press and got the ball inside to Sanders and Deane.

The 6-6 Deane had 10 points and four rebounds, and Dykes added 11 points and six rebounds. The Patriots also got outside shooting from Amp Davis (10 points, seven assists), Brian Miller (10 points, six assists) and Steve Smith (10 points).

"I thought we had a very fine team effort," Patriots Coach Rick Barnes said. "Navy tried to keep us from running and we had to make some adjustments in the second half.

"We came in the game thinking we had to keep {Cliff} Rees from getting hot from outside and this guy {Gottschalk} hits some shots. We extended out a little farther on him and held him down. We used a variety of presses to see what would work."

Most of what the Patriots threw at Navy worked. They used a series of mini-runs to build a lead of as many as 19 points in the second half.

Navy trailed, 40-36, before George Mason's first spurt. Dykes scored on a half-hook, Davis hit a three-pointer, followed by a 12-footer to make the lead 11 points with 17 minutes to play.

Navy closed to seven points before George Mason, getting three baskets from Sanders, a three-pointer, a short jumper and two free throws from Miller, a three-pointer from Earl Moore and two inside baskets from Deane increased its lead to 67-49, with 8:53 to play.

"We certainly can't give up 80 points to a team like this and expect to win," said Navy Coach Pete Herrmann. "Sanders was tough when he had to be. He played under control and made the shots inside."

Navy closed to eight points after a basket by Hopkins with 2:16 to play. But Sanders scored six straight points.