Looking back at Monday night’s limited action …
FORTUNES RISING, TEAM
Navy. The Midshipmen head into their exam break at 6-6 after a 69-59 defeat of Bryant, which is a pretty big deal for a team that went 3-26 last year.
Here’s what we know about the Mids after a dozen games: Tilman Dunbar provides the sort of stability at point guard last year’s rudderless team didn’t enjoy; Kendall Knorr is going to be the biggest beneficiary of Dunbar’s propensity to penetrate the paint over the next four years because of his superb shooting; and Worth Smith is a more significant piece of the puzzle than his numbers suggest.
Navy has four games remaining before the start of Patriot League play, and while a 10-6 mark might be a stretch, it’s certainly possible the Mids begin their conference schedule at .500. That’s a significant leap in coach Ed DeChellis‘ second season in Annapolis, and one certain to provide optimism for the future.
FORTUNES RISING, INDIVIDUAL
Otto Porter, Georgetown. Let’s see here. Porter had 22 points (a career-high), seven assists (also a career-high) and four steals (matching a career-high) as Georgetown blasted Longwood 89-53 at Verizon Center.
But here’s another number that has to be mildly reassuring: Eight free throw attempts, the second-most of his career. Porter had only 12 trips to the foul line in seven games before Monday.
Porter is an exceptional, well-rounded talent, and one of the most enjoyable players in the country to watch on a night-in, night-out basis. If he can find his way to the free throw line with a little more frequency —- and coach John Thompson III clearly trusts him there, seeing as how Porter took a pair of foul shots after a Longwood technical foul —- it would make him even more dangerous.
Cadarian Raines, Virginia Tech. It just wasn’t a good night for the forward, who was held scoreless and fouled out in 12 minutes of a 70-49 victory over Mississippi Valley State. The Hokies had the sort of game you might expect from a team that played a rugged road game just a bit more than 48 hours earlier. It was the first time Raines was held scoreless since Jan. 7 against Wake Forest.
Turnovers by Longwood, the most by a Georgetown opponent since Elon had 32 in a 91-70 victory on Dec. 13, 2003. The Hoyas had a whopping 47-7 edge in points off turnovers.
George Washington (4-5) looks to snap a two-game skid —- albeit one with an encouraging close call against Kansas State —- when it visits 5-2 Rutgers. … Further afield, Norfolk State (6-5) takes a four-game winning streak into its trip to No. 10 Illinois (10-0).
—- Patrick Stevens