Navy's basketball team received mention in the national poll for the first time this season yesterday, then the team proceeded to justify that mentioning.
Without missing a beat from its recent trend, the Midshipmen smothered Colgate from the onset last night at Alumni Hall, earning a convincing, 81-47 Patriot League victory before 1,758 fans.
It was the fourth straight game in which Navy has romped to at least a 20-point lead as the race for first place in the league's regular season heads into the homestretch.
Navy (19-5, 8-1) has won nine consecutive games overall and 14 in a row at home. Its only defeat since Dec. 23 was at Lafayette, the team it is battling for the postseason tournament's top seeding.
The Red Raiders extended Navy two weeks ago before succumbing, 69-65, at home, but offered little resistance in the rematch. The Midshipmen's blanket defense held Colgate to three field goals while Navy roared ahead, 33-10 -- and it only got worse.
Three times in the second half, Navy had a 44-point lead.
"We got dominated in every phase from the opening tap," said Colgate coach Emmett Davis, a longtime Navy assistant. "They're just playing terrific basketball right now. They did the same thing to Lafayette, which is supposed to be the top team in our league. They just came at us in waves."
Center Sitapha Savane produced a double double (18 points, 10 rebounds) despite playing only 22 minutes, and 13 Midshipmen scored. Eight points came from Kyle Barker, who had 50 points in a recent junior varsity game.
Savane has been the key, according to guard Jason Jeanpierre. "He makes the game a whole lot easier for us," Jeanpierre said. "When we get beat on defense, he's always there to cover for us."
"We really want to take advantage of Sitapha offensively, too," said coach Don DeVoe. "Everything we do begins with him, with trying to get the highest percentage shot."
Colgate (11-12, 4-6) shot 21 percent in the first half and went 0-for-7 from three-point range in the game. It showed the effects of a three-day road trip.
Navy will conclude its home schedule Saturday against Holy Cross, then break for examinations.