ANNAPOLIS, FEB. 9 -- The final five minutes of Navy's 82-73 loss to William and Mary today crystalized the Midshipmen's mysterious play this season.
When Erik Harris made a free throw with 4:33 left, Navy was within 66-64 at Halsey Field House. But that was as close as the Midshipmen got as the Tribe (11-12, 4-6 CAA) scored 10 straight points to build a 12-point lead with 1:02 left and break a five-game losing streak.
Navy (6-16, 2-8) lost its fourth in a row and ninth in its last 10.
"We've seen this in the past," Navy Coach Pete Herrmann said. "We get in these offensive droughts. We've not wanted to play that way. We've got to shoot it with more confidence, keep running and make it more chaotic."
Navy, after drawing close, went scoreless on six straight possessions, with five missed shots, a turnover and an offensive foul. Meanwhile, Tribe forward Thomas Roberts (game-high 24 points) made two free throws, reserve John Leone converted two offensive rebounds for baskets and Derrick Peters made four free throws to make it 76-64 with about a minute left.
"We've lost so much, we're at the point where we're trying not to lose instead of trying to win," said Harris, who led the Midshipmen with 19 points and six assists. "We're playing not to make a mistake instead of trying to make a big play."
Harris finally ended the Tribe's run with an uncontested layup with 56 seconds left. Navy's previous basket came on Nick Marusich's inside move at the 6:30 mark.
William and Mary made 12 of 14 free throws in the final four and a half minutes and was 26 for 33 overall.
The Midshipmen "fight, they scrap, but once we got the lead in the second half, we didn't relinquish it," Tribe Coach Chuck Swenson said. "It gave us a lot of confidence and we built on it."
Things went well for the Midshipmen most of the way as they held Scott Smith, the Tribe's second-leading scorer at 13.6 points per game, and forward Ben Blocker to no points and five rebounds in the first half. Marusich worked inside for 13 first-half points, but he managed just one basket after intermission.
Peters, a sophomore who matched his career high with 14 points, kept Harris under control, limiting the CAA's second-leading scorer to seven-of-18 shooting.
"We've got to have an 80- or 90-point game to feel we're causing people problems," Herrmann said. "We're just not doing it. We missed a couple of shots in there and before you know it we're down by eight or nine points."