Sunday, November 29, 2015

GW beats Tennessee, loses to #24 Cincinnati: will they be ranked?

GW had a pretty good showing in the Barclays Center Classic this weekend, beating Tennessee 73-70 and then losing a tight one to #24 Cincinnati, 61-56. That means the Colonials are 6-1 with their only loss coming to a ranked team, and a win over then #6 Virginia. That's a pretty great place to be, so far.

So, will GW be ranked? In last Monday's poll, the good guys were unofficially #27 in the AP top 25, receiving 85 votes, just behind Utah's 95 in the "also receiving votes" section. In the USA Today Coaches Poll, GW was farther down the "also receiving votes," coming up at #31.

For the teams in the AP top 25, most did well this week, but LSU lost two and Wichita State lost three, presumably dropping those teams from the rankings. UConn also lost two, but one was to #10 Gonzaga, so I don't see a huge drop there.

However, there's the feeling I've heard from some people that GW isn't well-known enough to get consideration unless there's another huge win. I'm not sure that's true, given the 85 votes already and if the Colonials had knocked off Cincy, I think they'd definitely be in the rankings.

I guess we'll see what happens on Monday. I personally don't think GW will be ranked, though I sure hope they are.

And it's also pretty great to be having this discussion. Raise High!

Photo by Michael Layton

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

GW clobbers the other GW (Gardner-Webb) 94-65

It was a battle of GWUs, and the real GW stood tall. The good guys drubbed the Runnin' Bulldogs of Gardner-Webb 94-65 in front of a rowdy audience of school kids (GW is off this week for Thanksgiving.)

Gardner-Webb University is a small Baptist college in Boiling Springs, NC -- and being the other GW, sometimes their logo gets put on sites in place of ours. And interestingly, NBA Hall of Famer Artis Gilmore went there before transferring to Jacksonville University, where he brought the Dolphins to the 1970 NCAA championship game, where they lost to UCLA. How crazy is it that Jacksonville made the title game?

Digression aside, I wasn't able to go to this game, but it sounds like a fun atmosphere, GWHoopsters say the crowd of mostly elementary school kids were super loud and boisterous, which is great to hear. And it's also good marketing for GW -- maybe these kids will have fond memories and want to come back when they're older.

As for the game, the Colonials shot 54% from the floor and were 10/21 from three, which is a nice change of events -- in previous games, the Colonials didn't take or make many from beyond the arc. In the last four games, GW was 2/17, 4/15, 6/20 and 4/16 from deep. If this wasn't just a fluke or due to lax defense, that's a big good thing. The good guys were also solid again from the free throw line, hitting 22/27 for 81.5%.

Five Colonials scored in double figures, as Tyler Cavanaugh leading the way with 20 points, 7 boards and 3 assists. Yuta Watanabe had a solid game with 19 points on 5/7 shooting, 3/5 from behind the arc and 6/6 from the stripe. Atlantic 10 player of the week Patricio Garino added 16 on 7/8 shooting plus 5 boards, Matt Hart had 13 and Kevin Larsen had 12 with 6 boards. Joe McDonald had an interesting stat line, with 0 points but 10 boards. Here's the AP article, GW Sports article and box score.

On defense, GW held GaWe to 39.7% from the floor and 8/28 from three, much different from the Army game before where the Black Knights (shouldn't the be the Cadets?) torched GW with 12/28 from deep.

It's also kind of a nice revenge on a school, through no fault of their own, that has sometimes had its logo substituted for our own on various sports websites.

The good guys have improved to 5-0, and next face Tennessee at 9:00 pm in Brooklyn.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Here's lots of reactions to the UVa game!

That UVa game was huge, and folks from all over were talking about it. Here's a rundown of some of those great reactions from GW fans, DC folks and national media. And listen to David Earl talking to NBC Sports' Rob Dauster about the game on Dave's Hail to the Buff podcast!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Wow! GW upsets #6 Virginia in an incredible atmosphere 73-68

The Smith Center was packed and extremely loud last night as GW held off UVa for a 73-68 win in an amazing atmosphere. The student section was rocking and generally drowned out the significant Virginia fan base (I'd say about 30% orange.)

GW led for most of the game and held fast when UVa took a few brief leads, making stops and knocking down big shots to go back up. The biggest GW lead was 9, while UVa's was 6 at the very beginning.

It was a tough, gritty performance for the good guys, who never looked out of control. As UVa coach Tony Bennett said, "We can’t just say, 'oh, it wasn’t our game.' We got outplayed and outexecuted. We have to keep finding ourselves." The team executed and played smart and tough.

Patricio Garino had a huge game with 18 points and 5 boards on 7/8 shooting, and Tyler Cavanaugh also scored 18 with 5 rebounds. The team as a whole shot 82% from the free throw line with 28 free throws, which was a key to staying in it and taking the game at the end.

Kevin Larsen also played well, but more as a passer -- he made a lot of great dishes for 5 assists, plus some hockey assists where his pass led to another pass that led to a shot (plus 9 points.) Yuta Watanabe had a cold night from the floor, just 1/7, but did grab 7 board and had 2 blocks, and was clutch on defense. Paul Jorgensen and Joe McDonald both had 10 points, and Jorgensen had some nasty moves, burning his man for an open jumper, then drawing a foul the next play on another nice move.

It's hard not to say everybody was great -- the defense was solid, there were great passes, and they weathered every run from UVa, outplayed the Pack Line defense and just were all around solid. The good guys only were 4/15 from three, but they showed they can make it work even when they happens.

The game was intense and stressful -- I was making every possible facial expression, clenching my fists and generally going nuts. It was hard to tweet or retweet about the action. But it was great. It never seemed like GW would lose, and in the end, they didn't. Maybe it was the new jerseys.

And the Smith Center was electric. It was as loud as I can remember since maybe the Charlotte buzzer beater in 2006, and reminded me of the crazy crowds in 1998-99, my freshman year, when the team reached the NCAA tourney behind 5'4" Shawnta Rogers (whose son Darnell is coming to GW next year) and Yegor Mescheriakov. The Colonial Army turned out big and were super noisy, and the folks under the basket were dressed tropically also going nuts, bringing inflatable whales, palm trees, flamingos and other props. Those fans rushed the court after the win, while the student section was blocked by security.

(The only minus about the crowd was that the side opposite the students was pretty stoic, not getting into any of the usual Gee! Dub! or D-Fense chants.) And Coach Lonergan's son was hilarious, wearing a coconut bra like his dad did in Hawaii.

The UVa fans were mostly solid and seemed fine -- a couple dudes behind me yelled something about Yuta's mom, but otherwise they kept to themselves.

I saw a fair number of notable folks too, like NBC4 weatherman Doug Kammerer, Post reporter Gene Wang and writer/commentator Clay Travis. There were also some national college basketball reporters. The Gee! Dub! chant guy was in attendance too. Anybody see other well-known folks?

And still, wow. What a game. I'm looking forward to the rest of the season.

Here's recaps from the Hatchet, the Post, AP, NBC Sports, Sports Illustrated, CBS Sports, and ESPN. The Post has more too about Lonergan.

Monday, November 16, 2015

GW plays UVa today at 7:30 at the Smith Center!

GW faces #6 Virginia tonight at the Smith Center, the biggest game in many years. This in the highest ranked team to visit since 1995, when GW faced (and beat!) John Calipari's #1 UMass, with the Clinton family in attendance.

So it's a big game. Virginia is favored, but GW can win this with solid defense and good outside shooting. And you should be there! The Smith Center needs to be packed with loud, rowdy and excited GW fans to drown out any tie- and blazer-wearing Cavaliers fans who may be there. It's sold out, but you can get tickets on Stubhub -- make sure to not let UVa fans get them. (Seriously.)

The teams faced off last year at UVa's campus, and GW led at halftime before getting tipped 59-42. The Hatchet has more.

I'm pretty pumped. So is David Earl, who runs the Hail to the Buff podcast, who gives a series of great reasons why you, the GW fan, should be there and going nuts. He also talks to a UVa blogger about the game.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

GW beats Lafayette 85-76: a tale of two halves (and I'm on the Hail to the Buff Podcast)

In a battle of of Revolutionary War military heroes, GW beat Lafayette 85-76 in the Colonials' home opener on Friday. The Colonials dominated the first half, up 50-28 at the break, but did not look sharp in the second, eking out a 9 point win.

Tyler Cavanaugh had a monster game with 15 points and 17 boards, and he looked great: quick drives to the basket and good post moves, while Kevin Larsen had a career high 24 points plus 11 rebounds. Patricio Garino had 17 points with a couple of threes and Paul Jorgensen added 10 points, 4 assists and 3 steals.

GW rolled in the first half with Kevin Larsen dropping 18 as the Colonials pulled out to a big lead. The second half wasn't much fun though, as the good guys seemed to lose focus on both ends of the court: Lafayette had lots of open looks and open drives to the basket, though to their credit they knocked down shots. The refs took the new emphasis on calling it closer to an extreme, calling 57 fouls for a total of 77 foul shots, which really slowed the game down and made it painful. Lafayette capitalized on those too, hitting 88% of theirs while GW hit 72.5%.

Yuta Watanabe was in foul trouble for most of the game, but played well when he was in, with 7 points, 7 boards, 2 blocks and a steal. Joe McDonald was 0/4 from the floor and took an elbow to the face. He went to the locker room but did return.

The crowd, especially the students, were noisy and into it, and the band seemed much louder than usual -- they really impressed me. And thankfully, the girl who used to scream an extremely annoying blood-curdling shriek after fouls, either graduated or stopped yelling. (The GW Band confirmed on twitter that the scream was no more.) GW also added a second bar in the Colonials Club, so that means easier access to beer, and there were new banners all around the Smith Center (though folks on GWHoops say the parking situation was a disaster, with some people waiting 30-40 minutes to leave the garage.)

Here's the box score and recaps from and the Hatchet.

GW next faces #6 Virginia on Monday at 7:30pm in the Smith Center, the biggest home game in years. More on that tomorrow.

And if you'd like to hear me talk with David Earl about the game (and also some good-natured ribbing of UVa) check out David's great Hail to the Buff podcast.

Friday, October 16, 2015

The season is here! Colonials Invasion is tonight at the Smith Center!

Oh man, we're getting close. Tonight is Colonials Invasion, the kickoff of the men's and women's basketball seasons with lots of performances, music, contests, and introductions to the teams.  Sounds pretty awesome, you should go!!!

Here's the full rundown from the athletic department:


Join the GW Men's and Women's Basketball teams, Gymnastics, Capital Funk, Bhangra, the Spirit Program and more at the Smith Center as we kick off Colonials Weekend and get the 2015-16 basketball season under way. The night will be filled with performances, giveaways, and more. Doors will open at 8:00 p.m. and all fans can enter through the main entrance of the Smith Center on 22nd Street, between G and F Streets, NW and ADMISSION IS FREE for all students, families and fans.
Doors will open at 8 p.m. and all fans can enter through the main entrance of the Smith Center on 22nd Street, between G and F Streets NW.

What To Expect

  • Introduction to the GW men's and women's basketball teams
    Performances by:
  • The GW Gymnastics team
  • The Cheer Team and First Ladies
  • Capital Funk
  • GW Bhangra
  • Colonial Brass Pep Band
  • Colonial Idol Winner
  • Special skills contest
  • Fun, music and more!
Attention ParentsVisiting your student during Colonials Weekend or just a big Colonials fan who wants to get their children involved in the show? Sign up your son or daughter ages 5-12 to be apart of a High-5 Tunnel for the Men's and Women's Basketball Teams during player introductions! Your child can meet the team, get an autographed certificate, and be a part of the show! Sign up with Alex Hooper today at Space is limited. 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Here's an awesome old school Colonials logo (maybe from the football days?)

Just spotted this on poster NJColonial put up a GW logo sticker on his Madsion Hall room in the 80s, and it's still there. Pretty cool of the dorm staff to let him see if it's there. (It was hidden behind some furniture.)

He says it was from the football era, which ended in 1966, and I agree just based on the style: a jaunty, scowling colonial (George?) in a frilly shirt. It reminds me of those 1960s live action historical TV shows. Pretty awesome.

(And kudos to poster Dootie Bubble for the Photoshop to make it more readable.)

Thursday, April 9, 2015

GW basketball, Pato featured in new Comcast Xfinity commercial

This is pretty awesome: Columbia Heights Colonial on GWHoops spotted a new Comcast commercial featuring GW versus George Mason at the Smith Center. The commercial shows people watching "the big game" until rain starts and knocks the picture out.

It shows a Mason alley-oop but shows Patricio Garino dunking at the end. Pretty awesome. I wonder if Comcast or the ad agency has a GW alum on staff -- in which case, kudos to you.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Season Recap: A lot of highs and lows

The Colonials had some good times this season and some not good times. The good guys earned a postseason win for the first time since 2006, but it wasn't in the NCAA tournament. There's a lot of hope for next year, but also some disappointment for what could have been. Here's my season recap.

The first part of the season was definitely one of the best in years -- the team started with a 16-4 record, including wins over power conference teams like Rutgers, Depaul, Colorado and of course, Wichita State, which was ranked #11 at the time.

That Wichita State game was the team's biggest win in years, and came at the end of a run to take the Diamond Head Classic. It got GW onto the bubble and the good guys started earning votes in the NCAA poll.

In time, unfortunately, most of those power conference wins looked less impressive, as the non-Wichita teams finished with a combined 38-70 record. And there were some missed opportunities: the team lost a winnable game against Seton Hall plus others to #9 Virginia and Penn State.

And then things started to fall apart: the Colonials went on another mid-season swoon, losing 6 of 7 starting with #14 VCU and including a loss to a bad Duquesne team. They rebounded a bit, finishing the regular season winning three of their last four, then won one in the conference tournament before falling to Rhode Island.

The team received a bid in the NIT, and collected GW's that postseason win over #4 seed Pitt in Pittsburgh. The season ended with a loss in Philly to old conference foe Temple, a #1 seed. The Colonials finished with a 22-13 record.

Some folks were disappointed in that result, expecting a huge season with the Core Four of Patricio Garino, Joe McDonald, Kethan Savage and Kevin Larsen all back as juniors from a team that made the NCAA tournament. I was gutted during the swoon -- during the great early season run I asked off work to travel to the NCAA tourney -- but then again, GW lost two of the best players of the last decade, if not longer: big man Isaiah Armwood and clutch guard Maurice Creek.

My snowman ⛄️With that, they also seemingly lost some leadership. The Core Four played pretty well, but nobody took charge or fired up the team when things weren't going well, which Zeek and Creek always seemed to do. It's hard to tell from the stands, of course.

And while the team missed those two, they also gained two very promising players: freshmen Yuta Watanabe and Paul Jorgensen. Yuta, the 6' 8" Japanese forward, was immediately a revelation, hitting a lot of shots off the bench and immediately contributing. He finished with 7.4 points and 3.5 rebounds per game, and his minutes steadily went up. He also got a lot of press for GW -- my buddies and I invented a drinking game, where any time a commentator or analyst said Yuta was the fourth Japanese player to play in Division I, take a drink. And we took a drink every time a game was on. The New York Times and Washingtonian also published articles about Yuta -- pretty awesome.

And aside from Yuta's press, the good guys were on TV a lot -- 23 games were on TV, and Yuta earned a SportsCenter Top 10 for a dunk against Richmond. There seemed like a lot more fan support too -- good crowds at home and away, especially for the New York-area games, where GW fans outnumbered those at Fordham. And the Smith Center started selling beer.

The other freshman who contributed, Jorgensen, had earned the nickname "Prince Harry of Harlem" from his streetball play in New York. The Prince took a while to catch on, but became a solid contributor with a lot of flash as the season went on, with games of 13, 12 and 11 points. I'm looking forward to seeing more out of both of them next season.

The Core Four almost all finished in double digits in points too: Garino led the team with 12.4, Savage at 11.7, Larsen at 10.9 (along with 7.4 boards) and McDonald at 9.9 points and 5.8 boards, good for second on the team.

John Kopriva, the lone senior, also played well, knocking down big shots, playing defense and drawing charges. He served as a solid role player off the bench while collecting a 4.0 GPA in pre-med, getting named a third-team academic All-American. Not too shabby, #DrJohn.

After the season, the team lost a couple of players as freshman Darian Bryant and sophomore Nick Griffin transferred. We didn't see either player too much during the season, but Bryant was an aggressive driver and Griffin a good shooter, scoring 12 against Davidson. Too bad to see them go, but I wish them the best.

Another season in Foggy Bottom: good times, bad times, excitement and disappointment. I wouldn't have it any other way. And with the Core Four back again with a seasoned Watanabe and Jorgensen, I'm looking forward to more excitement. And more Smith Center beer.
You can get college basketball tickets here.