Tuesday, January 24, 2012

GW beats Richmond, Charlotte at home: turning the corner?

Basketballs #basketball

Despite an overall 8-10 record, GW is 3-2 in conference after a surprise drubbing of Richmond 83-65 and a 60-52 win over Charlotte.

It seems like coach Mike Lonergan has changed and solidified his lineups lately, with Smith, Mikic, Taylor, Ware and Kromah starting both games, while big men Jon Kopriva and Jabari Edwards are getting a lot fewer minutes than in previous games. Kopriva and Edwards had been averaging 37 minutes a game between them, but against the Spiders and 49ers, that dropped to 22 and 14 total.

While I think Kopriva will be solid later on, he's only averaging 3.7 points and 2.5 boards, and had some defensive lapses. Edwards rebounds well and can block shots, but doesn't do much on offense. Aaron Ware and David Pellom have picked up some of the rebounding slack, averaging 7.5 and 6.5 over the two games.

The team also seems stronger on offense and has started the game less flat than in the earlier part of the season, as well as playing much stingier defense, causing bad shots and getting more rebounds. And against Charlotte, Nemanja Mikic came out of his shooting slump, scoring 19 on 3/5 from three, plus some long jumpers and even some nice moves down low.

The team still needs to work on free throws (only 53% against Charlotte) and on making short shots and lay-ups, but there's some hope. The games have been exciting (a nice return) and have been close even when the good guys are playing poorly. Then, as has happened all year, the team turns it on in the second half -- GW scored 50 in the second against Richmond. For the season, the Colonials have scored 516 in the first half versus 661 in the second, while opponents have scored 626 and 613. That's a big difference. Hopefully the guys from Foggy Bottom can come out strong in the first halves from here on out.

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