Looking back on college basketball action from Sunday in the area …
FORTUNES RISING, TEAM
Navy. It seems strange to say after a loss, but the Midshipmen more than acquitted themselves in their first two games.
First, they ended a 22-game losing streak as they handled Marymount on Friday. More impressively, the Mids hung around with Siena and forced overtime before falling 54-49 on Sunday.
Coach Ed DeChellis wants to rebuild the program around three basic tenets: Rebounding, defense and taking care of the ball. Siena shot 32.7 percent from the floor and scored less than a point per possession. Navy had only 10 turnovers in 45 minutes. It also yielded far too many second-chance opportunities (Siena had an offensive rebounding percentage of 37.2 percent).
Still, two out of three isn’t bad for a team coming from where Navy is coming from. Siena is still a decent mid-major brand name even if it has trailed off the last couple years, and the Mids had a chance to win. Point guard Tilman Dunbar actually allows the Mids to look like they’re running an offense, and freshman forward Jerome Alexander impressed with eight points off the bench.
Navy’s in better shape than it was at the end of last season. How much it translates into wins remains to be seen, but there shouldn’t be a protracted skid like last year’s on the horizon.
FORTUNES RISING, INDIVIDUAL
D’Vaun Smith-Rivera, Georgetown. There should be no complaints about the Hoya freshman guard’s debut. His 19 points were the most for a Georgetown player in his first game since Michael Sweetney had 19 against Bethune-Cookman in 2000, and his 4-for-4 shooting from beyond the 3-point line forced Duquesne to abandon its zone defense in the second half
Georgetown needed that performance, too, in a 61-55 victory at Verizon Center. Both the Hoyas’ John Thompson III and the Dukes’ Jim Ferry acknowledged it was a sloppy game, and it looked very much like the sort of contest you’d see in the first half of November.
In short, there weren’t many long-lasting conclusions to reach Sunday night. That Smith-Rivera can shoot —- and help Georgetown this season —- is one of them.
Howard. The Bison wasted an eight-point halftime lead against Division II Lincoln, falling on Saturday 68-62.
Coach Kevin Nickelberry spoke in the preseason about relying on veterans Calvin Thompson and Mike Phillips. That pair accounted for exactly half of the Bison’s output.
Here’s the concerning stat for Howard: Five assists against 12 turnovers. This can still be a season of progress for the Bison, but it was a decidedly suspect debut [Howard Athletics]
Free throws taken in George Washington’s 80-73 loss to Youngstown State on Saturday. There’s another sign of early November basketball.
Georgetown star Otto Porter left after playing only six minutes after getting elbowed hit in the head. Coach John Thompson III didn’t specify whether Porter had a concussion. Georgetown’s next game is Wednesday against Liberty; it then faces UCLA in the Legends Classic in New York on Nov. 19. While the Hoyas were mum on the injury, it wouldn’t be stunning if Porter sits on Wednesday as a precaution. … Loyola hung with Washington for a half before falling 85-63. The Greyhounds played Friday, then flew to Seattle on Saturday morning. It’s not hard to imagine them running out of gas after a solid 20 minutes.
BEYOND THE CORRIDOR
James Johnson‘s debut as Virginia Tech’s coach went well as the Hokies bested East Tennessee State 80-62 behind 21 points from Erick Green. … VMI opened its season with a pair of losses at the All-Military Classic. … Morgan State went 1-2 during its three-game event at Old Dominion.
Maryland looks to win its 36th straight home opener when it meets Morehead State (1-0) at Comcast Center at 8 p.m. … American (0-1) visits Quinnipiac (1-0) at 7 p.m.; the Eagles beat the Bobcats 74-73 last year at Bender Arena. … Virginia Tech (1-0) plays host to Rhode Island (0-1). … Virginia (0-1) opens play in its NIT subregional against Fairfield. … UMBC meets Division III Eastern (Pa.) in its home opener. … The annual Coppin State early season tour of power conference teams continues as the Eagles visit Texas. They opened the season Friday with a loss at Southern California.
—- Patrick Stevens