Thursday, November 29, 2012

A tale of two games: GW beat by Mt. St. Mary's, handles JMU

I keep saying baby steps this season, like the doctor in What About Bob? And maybe I'm right! GW faced Mt. St. Mary's on Monday, a game that featured a VCU assistant coaching his Mountaineers (unoriginal, come on, guys) in a style of their Havoc full court press defense. And it was ugly. GW couldn't handle the press, turning it over 25 times and looking pretty bad out there. The game was close, but that was only because the Mount missed a ton of wide open lay-ups off of steals -- I counted at least 5 of them.

The good guys did shoot 51%, but only 47% from the free throw line and 0/6 from three -- and it doesn't really matter how well you shoot it if you turn it over 25 times. Lasan Kromah had a good game with 18, Isaiah Armwood had a double-double and Kevin Larsen almost did. It was generally not that fun to watch though -- there were two big runs by the Marylanders that put the game out of reach. The Mount actually reminded me of the not-so-good Hobbs teams: sometimes they look fantastic with the press, but other teams awful -- and oddly, those Hobbs teams also missed a lot of lay-ups. Here's the box score and recap.

But let's go to Wednesday's game against James Madison: I didn't watch this one, instead going to watch the Wizards end their winless streak (surprisingly fun) but it seems like the team learned from their mistakes. Rather than struggling to get the ball up the court against the press, like with the Mount game, the team was able to break it and get into a rhythm. GWHoopsters seem moderately pleased (though the first half was bleak, apparently.) The usual suspects, Kromah, Larsen and Armwood had good games, as did freshman Joe McDonald. Bryan Bynes only got 9 minutes, which the GWHoops crowd seemed to like, but Nemanja Mikic only got 13 -- however he did manage to snag 6 boards in that time. Here's the box score and recap for JMU.

What does it all mean? Did Coach Lonergan manage to coach up GW to avoid mistakes from the previous game? Was this just a win against a bad team? (The Dukes, which makes no sense considering they are named for a president, are now 1-5.) Are the freshmen improving? Is the rest of the team not improving? What about Bob? I'm not sure, but we'll find out down the road.

The Colonials' next test in against Manhattan on Sunday at the Verizon Center, part of the neutered BB&T Classic. And continuing the theme of dumb team names, Manhattan is not in fact in Manhattan, it's in the Bronx. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Recap of GW vs Youngstown State: Growing pains

Well, we should have known. GW started three newcomers, and it showed. Freshmen Joe McDonald and Patricio Garino and transfer Isaiah Armwood had their first GW games, while the rest of the guys looked pretty rusty. The good guys had moments of strong play, but a lot of disorganization, lazy passes, turnovers, and bad shots, and Youngstown State (who are the Penguins for some reason) won 80-73. YSU was up double figures at times, and generally played pretty well -- if they had made their open threes, this game would have been a lot less close.

So how were GW's players? The story of the game to me was Argentine freshman Pato Garino, who scored 13, led the team with 7 boards and blocked 2 shots, and just hustled and played smart out there. Isaiah Armwood had a quiet 18 points to lead GW, plus 5 rebounds. Freshman Joe McDonald had a rougher game, with 7 points, 5 turnovers and 2 assists, while the rest of the team was pretty unremarkable. Danish big man Kevin Larsen got a few minutes, and made some nice post moves, but didn't play a lot.

I didn't quite understand the rotation, it seemed like Lasan Kromah didn't play a lot, though he did tally 21 minutes, while Nemanja Mikic talled 14 minutes and Dwayne Smith only 13. Bryan Bynes played the point when McDonald wasn't in there, but only shot 1/9 from the field. The offense looked decent at times, with some nice cuts and such, but other times it seemed befuddled The team only attempted 11 threes, making a lowly 3 (maybe that was why there were so few attempts.)

Defense, however, was another question. GW played a lot of ole' defense, in that somebody would take a swipe at the ball and the ballhandler would go around him for an easy basket. It happened time and again, nobody got in front of their man. YSU also outrebounded the good guys, 43-34, and GW had more turnovers (14) than assists (9.) The Colonials shot pretty poorly from the line too, 24/38, with Bynes being a particular offender going 0/5, including twice missing both ends.

But growing pains are to be expected. There were definitely some bright spots, namely Garino and Armwood, but I hope we see more from the returning guys and the defense gets more serious. In any case, I'll be watching.

See below for some of my tweets from the game, plus a few other folks.

Friday, November 2, 2012

GW vs Catholic is on Saturday! Here are some previews

GW's first exhibition game is this Saturday at 2 pm at the Smith Center. I'm pumped (though unfortunately I'm going to miss it, going to Va. to canvass for Obama.)

But anyway, here are a couple previews of the game. First, from, a thorough and factual one. They're calling the game "eras colliding," as Coach Mike Longeran used to play and be the coach at Catholic, and coached them to a Division III national title with them in 2000-2001. Villanova transfer Isaiah Armwood will play for GW, while new freshman Kevin Larsen is questionable with an injury.

And here's Herve's preview from I have no idea how Herve learns all this stuff about opposing teams, but it's pretty impressive. Herve's prediction:
PREDICTION:A sparse collection of old men watching, young, athletic bodies exert themselves. It’s either an exhibition basketball game or any Tuesday afternoon for Dominique Strauss-Kahn. GW by 27.
Of course, this is just an exhibition game, so it's ok if we lose. Hopefully we won't, though.

You can get college basketball tickets here.