The Washington Times - November 10, 2012, 02:19AM

With so much of the area opening the college basketball season Friday night, this might be a little longer than it usually is.

No matter. Time to start the look back at the day that was in the Baltimore-Washington corridor, at least from a basketball perspective

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FORTUNES RISING, TEAM

George Mason. Patriots coach Paul Hewitt has a two-pronged plan to find a way to reach the NCAA tournament. One is the obvious step of winning the CAA tournament. The second is to build a strong nonconference resume.

Now, there’s no guarantee Virginia is going to be anywhere near as good as it was last season. It probably will be better than it was Friday, when Mason outlasted the Cavaliers 63-59 at the Patriot Center.

It was Bryon Allen’s 3-pointer in the closing minute that helped seal it for Mason, which defeated Virginia for the first time in program history. A trip to Bucknell (which won at Purdue on the season’s opening night) looms for the Patriots on Tuesday. [TWT]

FORTUNES RISING, INDIVIDUAL

Alex Len, Maryland. Yep, Mark Turgeon wasn’t kidding when he said the sophomore center was vastly better. Is the Ukrainian likely to put up 23 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks every night? Chances are it doesn’t happen.

But there’s little question the Terrapins’ offense will flow through Len. At the very least, it should flow through Len. Maryland was far from perfect in Friday’s 72-69 loss to Kentucky, but it still kept things interesting the final buzzer. Maryland doesn’t look like it is far from being a force again, and Len is a major reason why. [TWT]

DAILY DECLINER

Ship wrecked Hoyas. It wasn’t Georgetown’s fault its game on the USS Bataan was called at halftime because of moisture on the court. And the Hoyas still have more than enough opportunities in nonconference play (Tennessee, Texas, UCLA, possibly Indiana) to make an impression.

Still, there had to be some disappointment after falling behind 27-23 to Florida and then not getting the chance to rectify the situation. The Hoyas next play Sunday night against Duquesne. [Washington Post]

NIGHTLY NUMBER

22
Game losing streak in the books for Navy, which opened the season with a 75-48 defeat of Division III Marymount at Alumni Hall. Brandon Venturini scored 16 points and Tilman Dunbar added seven assists for the Midshipmen, who won for the first time since last Nov. 27. [Annapolis Capital]

BANNER MOMENT

Picked to win the Metro Atlantic earlier in the day, Loyola raised its 2012 NCAA tournament banner and then thrashed Binghamton 71-45. The Greyhounds, who opened the game on a 19-2 run, got 21 points from Dylon Cormier while dispatching one of last year’s weakest teams in Division I. [Loyola Greyhounds Athletics]

QUICK HITS

American committed 22 turnovers while getting doubled up 72-36 at Minnesota. … Anthony Hubbard had 17 points and 15 rebounds in his Morgan State debut as the Bears handled Texas-San Antonio 71-59. … Mount St. Mary’s fell to Pittsburgh 80-48 in Jamion Christian’s first game as the head coach at his alma mater. Pittsburgh shot 70.8 percent for the game. …

Pat Skerry’s second season at Towson opened with a 75-58 loss at College of Charleston. … UMBC built a 22-point lead in the first half at the Palestra  before Penn rallied for an 80-75 victory. … Freshman Patrick Cole had 25 points and Towson transfer Troy Franklin had 23 in Coppin State’s 87-73 loss at Southern California.

BEYOND THE CORRIDOR

Darien Brothers had 19 points as Richmond throttled Liberty 82-41. … Old Dominion lost 46-45 to Holy Cross in a sign things might not come easy for the youthful Monarchs. … Longwood’s first season in the Big South opened with an 81-47 loss at Marshall. …Norfolk State darted past rebuilding Rhode Island 67-55. … VCU’s first year in the A-10 opened with an 80-57 defeat of Florida Gulf Coast. … Marcus Thornton had 24 points as as William & Mary had little trouble with Hampton, 69-51.

Patrick Stevens