Three games in the corridor on a Wednesday evening and all were decided by nine points or more …
FORTUNES RISING, TEAM
Navy. Well, that’s two.
The Midshipmen blasted Binghamton 75-52 at Alumni Hall to collect their second victory of the season. That milestone won’t mean much for many teams, but it’s worth noting since Navy won only three times all of last season.
After 23 consecutive losses to Division I teams, it was a breakthrough of sorts. Granted, Binghamton was twenty kinds of terrible itself last season and is a year earlier in its rebuilding process than Navy (under ex-Rider coach Tommy Dempsey, who was an exceptional hire for the Bearcats). However nominal a Division I team Binghamton might appear at the moment, it still counts.
Navy has found itself a point guard in Tilman Dunbar, and while he’s not going to be perfect as a freshman, he certainly makes the Mids vastly more interesting than they were at any point.
The key on a given night is to get two or three other guys to play well. Worth Smith rebounded from a shaky start to turn in a solid second half. Thurgood Wynn is much improved over last season. Jared Smoot had eight points and nine rebounds in 20 minutes.
There will be bumps in the road. One very well could be Sunday’s trip to UAB … and Tuesday’s visit to Texas Christian … and, well, you get the point. But Navy’s improved and more intriguing, and that’s welcome news after going 3-26 last season. [TWT]
FORTUNES RISING, INDIVIDUAL
Greg Whittington, Georgetown. From the start Wednesday, the Hoyas knew they would be without Otto Porter (who was out with concussion-like symptoms, which in lay terms often turns out to be, uh, a concussion).
In any case, the Hoyas were without their best player from the opening tip. So who’s their best-player-in-waiting? It would be the lanky Whittington, who put together a wonderfully filthy line in Georgetown’s 68-59 defeat of Liberty.
Where to start … 18 points, nine rebounds, four assists, no turnovers, two steals and 8-for-8 shooting inside the 3-point arc. That’s going to do just nicely over 34 minutes.
Whittington was a scorer —- first, second and third —- as a high school player. As a freshman, he was a defense-and-hustle guy, but the 6-foot-8 guard always represented the possibility of emerging as a nightmare matchup in the years to come. He might already be that for the 2-0 Hoyas.
“Greg can do a lot of different things,” coach John Thompson III told reporters. “He has that responsibility-slash-burden to do a lot of different things.” [AP]
UMBC’s defensive rebounding. The Retrievers couldn’t have been expected to win at Loyola, and they were probably going to take a hit on the glass given the Greyhounds’ ferocity in such matters.
Still, giving up 15 offensive rebounds to your own 14 defensive rebounds is no way to go through a game. Loyola won 86-70, and a better performance in hauling in the Greyhounds’ misses could have made things a bit more interesting.
Consecutive free throws missed by Binghamton after it closed within five points in the middle of the second half.
And yes, that really was a miserable as it reads. At one point, the Bearcats missed 10 of 12 free throws and basically gave Navy a free pass despite its own sloppy play. Navy rebounded, played sound defense and didn’t turn the ball over much, but it also got some help from Binghamton along the way.
Jimmy Patsos figures to be pretty happy with Dylon Cormier right now. Cormier had 17 points, seven rebounds, three assists and just one turnover in 36 minutes. Of course, Cormier had to play 36 minutes against UMBC, but that’s another matter. … Speaking of the Retrievers, Chase Plummer had 28 points against a Loyola bunch known for its physical play in the paint. He might be the best player in the Baltimore-Washington corridor no one knows about, mainly because UMBC has only 13 wins over the last three full seasons.
BEYOND THE CORRIDOR
Nothing doing, really. It was a pretty quiet schedule on Wednesday.
American and Mount St. Mary’s meet up at Bender Arena, with both teams bringing a 1-1 record to the 7:30 p.m. tip. … Howard, coming off a loss to Division II Lincoln in its opener, faces Iowa on the road. The Hawkeyes are 10-0 all-time against the MEAC. …
Virginia Tech’s James Johnson looks to become only the second Hokies coach since 1964 to begin his tenure with three straight wins when VMI visits Cassell Coliseum. The last to do it —- Bobby Hussey in 1997-98 —- didn’t exactly enjoy a long and prosperous run in Blacksburg. … James Madison is the last Division I team to play its first game, visiting UCLA in its season opener.
—- Patrick Stevens