Looking back at Saturday’s action in the corridor …
FORTUNES RISING, TEAM
Navy. The Midshipmen matched their win total from last season … on Nov. 24. Yes, last year was bad, and there’s no changing how unwatchable things became in February. But there is improvement in Annapolis, and a 63-53 victory over Delaware State showed growth after blowing a halftime lead a day earlier to Prairie View A&M.
This is far from a finished product, and truth be told even just a 10-win season would still symbolize progress for Navy (3-4). But with Brandon Venturini (14 points on Saturday) reaching double figures for the third time in four games, the Mids clearly committed to defense and the team learning from its second-half meltdown a day earlier, it is fair to say things are on the uptick —- and that Navy might be able to surpass the modest expectations bestowed upon it in the preseason.
FORTUNES RISING, INDIVIDUAL
Bryon Allen, George Mason. The redshirt junior already has two stirring moments for the Patriots —- a go-ahead 3-pointer against Virginia in the season opener, and now a game-winning layup (plus free throw) with 0.2 seconds left in Saturday’s 48-45 defeat of Boston University.
Now, whether Mason should have found itself in so tight a game at home against the solid Terriers is another matter (the 16 turnovers and 2-for-16 shooting from 3-point range) contributed to that. But Allen is just a better, steadier player this season, and it’s a vital development for Mason (4-2). If the Patriots are stable at point guard, it will give them needed wiggle room in case a few other positions continue to be unpredictable.
Maryland’s first half play. Taking a look at the box score and the second-half starters revealed more than enough about Maryland’s sluggish 70-53 defeat of Georgia Southern.
But, as LeVar Burton famously said, you don’t have to take my word for it.
“That wasn’t a lot of fun, especially in the first half,” coach Mark Turgeon said. “We obviously weren’t ready to play. Physically and mentally we weren’t ready to play.
And there’s the youthful rollercoaster in full effect. The Terps (4-1) wound up winning their fourth straight, through both a better second half an superior talent. There’s no assurances they’ll get away with such playing this weekend when they face Northwestern and George Mason.
Assists for George Washington in its 80-56 rout of Hofstra, the Colonials’ most since they had 28 in a December 2005 defeat of Maryland-Eastern Shore. Mike Lonergan‘s team shot 70.8 percent from the floor in the second half while improving to 2-2.
Four players reached double figures in scoring as Georgetown shook off a sloppy first half to upend Mount St. Mary’s 72-50. Both Otto Porter (17 points, 13 rebounds) and Greg Whittington (17 points, 11 rebounds) had double-doubles for the Hoyas (4-1). … American fell 58-55 at Florida Atlantic; the Eagles are 2-3. …
Coppin State won its first game of the season, handling Division II Cheney 98-78 behind Patrick Cole‘s 21 points.
BEYOND THE CORRIDOR
James Madison fell to 1-4 with a 76-58 loss to Miami (Ohio). That’s not a promising start for coach Matt Brady, who began the season very much under scrutiny. … Richmond led Ohio for a half, then got blasted by a Bobcat 3-point barrage (8-for-13) after the break in a 73-48 loss to the defending Mid-American Conference champs. … Virginia Commonwealth took fourth place in the Battle 4 Atlantis with a 68-65 loss to Missouri.
The schedule is light, as Howard (0-5) plays host to Division II Wilmington (0-5) at 2 p.m.
—- Patrick Stevens