ANNAPOLIS, FEB. 17 -- Navy junior point guard Rich Brennan said he received a firm understanding over the past five weeks of what it is to be forgotten.

Tonight at Halsey Field House, Brennan was rediscovered.

Brennan, who had scored only 22 points prior to tonight, came off the bench to score eight, play excellent defense and settle down a shaky Navy offense as the Midshipmen won their eighth straight game, 54-51, over Fordham.

Matt Nordmann scored 17 points for Navy, which did not score a point for 6:18 after the opening tap. The Midshipmen, winners of five straight at home, have won 25 straight February games since 1984-85.

The loss was the third straight for Fordham (14-12). The telling difference for the Rams tonight was three technical foul free throws made by Navy's Cliff Rees midway in the second half. Two shots were awarded for a technical against Rams Coach Nick Macarchuk; the other was against forward Joe Paterno.

"The last few weeks have really been tough for me," said Brennan, who made a key three-point basket late in the first half and played the entire second half. "I have been considering not playing next year, because when you are a junior and not playing, well, that's what you think about. The coach never even mentions my name in the locker room anymore. I was a little rusty tonight, but I was just glad to contribute."

Navy Coach Pete Herrmann turned to Brennan with five minutes left in the first half more out of desperation than out of renewed confidence. Fred Herzog's basket with 6:17 left in the half had given Fordham a 21-10 lead.

"They were playing a lot of zone, and Mel {Davis} is not a good shooter and Erik {Harris} had three fouls," said Herrmann. "No, we didn't expect {Brennan} to play that much or contribute that much, but once we have someone going good, we leave them in there to the end."

Forward Bobby Jones, a junior from St. John's High School, also came off the bench to contribute steady defense and three assists for Navy after center Byron Hopkins got in foul trouble and eventually fouled out.

Andre McClendon led Fordham with 11 points, but the Rams shot only 38 percent from the floor.