Thursday, January 17, 2013

Women's home opener tonight! Free beer and pizza!

If you'd like to forget about the atrocious ending of last night's Temple game, head to the Smith Center today for the women's home opener versus the Hawks of St. Joseph's. The event is in the Colonials Club inside the Smith Center from 6-7, and tipoff is at 7.
To show our appreciation for your support this season we'd like to kick off our A10 home opener tonight by providing

FREE PIZZA and FREE BEER

to all Colonials fans 21 and up from 6-7 in the Colonials Club inside the Smith Center. See you there!

GW vs Saint Joseph's
**TONIGHT**
7p.m.
You can follow the women's team's Facebook page here.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

GW vs Temple. Unbelievable.

Photo by Kel McDowell
I don't know what to believe anymore. What is truth? What is justice?

Ok, so that's a bit melodramatic, but the refereeing in that game was unbelievably terrible. Or I should say, the refereeing wasn't very good for the first 18 minutes of the game, and was unspeakably atrocious for the last two minutes. I'm talking From Justin to Kelly, Octomom, Manti Te Ľo's love life bad.

This OJ Simpson trial, this Bush v. Gore, began when the ball bounced towards Temple's Kashif Wyatt on the GW end of the court. With no one within a good ten feet of him, the ball bounced off his hand and went out of bounds. It was obvious he just misplayed it, turned upcourt before he had a handle on it. But like a wrestling match where a bad guy distracts the ref while another bad guy hits the good guy with a chair, the ref didn't see it. With the entire arena (a nice crowd, by the way) in full throat, the oblivious imbecile in black and white called it Temple's ball. (And, bizarrely, it looks like the ref is actually facing in that direction. I don't know what to think.)

The disbelief was palpable, everyone was yelling. You could tell Wyatt was angry at himself for letting it go, and it seemed that he was even trying to signal that the ball went off him, but the ref wouldn't hear it. Temple's ball. 

I was blind with rage at this part so my memory is foggy -- a bogus-looking foul on Patricio Garino results in two Temple free throws and Garino fouls out.

At some point, a Temple player and Larsen are tangled a bit and the Temple guy literally shoves him sideways with his forearm, sending Larsen and the ref he's standing next to tumbling. No call.

GW has the ball and Mikic takes a very early three and misses, then Temple gets the ball. Suddenly, for some bizarre reason, the refs call a ticky tack foul on Armwood a good 85 feet from the basket. The crowd erupts again. 

GW gets the ball back down 2 with about 30 to go, go down court and call a timeout. Then at the restart with 11 to go, Bynes takes the ball and goes up with it, misses, Dwayne Smith gets the board and misses, and that's game.

Normally I would have been less than pleased that Bynes took the last shot, but he did have a pretty good game, scoring 9 on 4/6 shooting, including a three. That said, I'd rather have somebody else taking that shot.

Of course, the refs are not always totally to blame, as GW didn't score at all for the last 8 minutes. A few of those shots, or one of them, and it's a different game. But considering how out of it I was just watching, I can't imagine being on the court and witnessing that. It was mind-bogglingly awful.

I don't like to go into conspiracies, but the conversation on ESPN, which seems mainly to be bettors, has some folks calling it really shady. I prefer to think it's just abominable refs.

Phew. There were some positives. GW played hard. Bynes scored 9, as did Dwayne Smith, who had some energy out there. Lasan Kromah had moments of confidence, though he also had 4 turnovers. The good guys shot 42.9% from three and outrebounded the Owls 32-25. The athletic department had a lot of hype for the game and the crowd showed up. There was a fun tailgate before and George Washington showed up in a Mike Hall jersey, along with his trusty steed, Mr. Glue.  They (we) were named fans of the game on the Jumbotron, but earlier I think we were robbed in the dance contest. Maybe the sprinkler isn't the way to go, after all. Pops Mensah-Bonsu was in attendance, as were the Nationals' racing presidents, or at least Teddy and Abe. And we unveiled the new Colonial Hoops T-shirt shop (more on that in future posts.)

And the negatives -- a lot of missed lay-ups and short shots. No points for the last 8 minutes. Temple at times scored easily. And the team seemed flustered at the end, but for good reason.

But the game's over. Let's end it with a letter from Thomas Paine to George Washington written from prison in France. Paine was angry that Washington didn't work to get him out of prison during the Reign of Terror. (I suppose I would be pretty angry too.) However, the letter could just as well be addressed by the Smith Center as a whole to the referees.
And as to you, sir, treacherous in private friendship (for so you have been to me, and in the day of danger) and a hypocrite in public life, the world will be puzzled to decide whether you are an apostate, or an impostor; whether you have abandoned good principles, or whether you ever had any.
Oh, Temple won 55-53. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

GW vs Temple on Wed.: Take the Oath! (Plus TV, racing presidents, tailgate, free inauguration swag and beer!)

GW faces Temple on Wednesday at the Smith Center in a big A-10 matchup. Temple is 11-4 with a big win over #3 Syracuse and losses to #2 Duke and #6 Kansas.

It should be a good game and will be on Comcast SportsNet, and GW needs as many people to come out as possible! We have to pack the Smith Center and make it an awesome atmosphere for hoops.

To help out with that, the university is doing a lot of cool stuff. For one, they're asking you to Take the Oath to defend the Smith Center. There's a pre-game tailgate starting at 5 pm (with beer!)

They're also going to be giving away GW inauguration swag (see right) like hats, buttons and such, so make sure to get to the game early!

In addition, fellow presidents Teddy and Abe will be there from the Nationals' racing presidents! I also hear some blogger will be dressed up like George Washington and will be accompanied by George's trusty horse, Mr. Glue.

Check out the video! Good on the athletic department for doing a lot of awesome stuff this year.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Colonials clobber Bonaventure, fall to Xavier

GW is now 7-8 on the season and 1-1 in conference after clobbering St. Bonaventure 78-59 and then falling to Xavier 71-56. I'm still pretty optimistic though.

Coach Mike Lonergan started 4 freshmen and Isaiah Armwood against the Bonnies, and it worked -- the good guys shot 57% from the floor and 6/12 from three. Lasan Kromah had a good game after struggling for part of the season, scoring 14 points on 5-5 shooting. It was a big win, and augured well for the rest of the year. Here's the GWSports recap and box score.

However, that year continued with Xavier, who despite their 8-6 record coming into the game always seem to have GW's number. The game was on CBS Sports TV again, which was cool, but unfortunately wasn't very fun to watch. X got up early and kept ahead, eventually ballooning to the end. It seemed that GW couldn't get any good shots off, and even when they could, the shots didn't drop -- only 38% from the floor. Here's the recap and box score.

Some silver linings though: Lasan Kromah had a second-straight good game, with 14. It seems like he's getting out of his funk and at times he was aggressive driving and smart, which is his best combination. In addition, I have so far found nothing I don't like about the freshmen duo of Kevin Larsen and Patricio Garino. I'm really looking forward to those two over the rest of this season and the next three years. Both have really smooth games, with Larsen making great moves in the paint and Garino just doing pretty much everything well. Isaiah Armwood has also been great, with more blocks than Tetris -- 49, which is ninth in the country. It also seems that Lonergan has pretty much set how much time everybody is getting.

And some not so silver linings: I'm no coach, but I would like to see Nemanja Mikic get some screens and open looks from three. He's been a virtual non-factor this season and GW has been shooting poorly from three. In addition, it sometimes seems that the guys take a lot of crazy, ill-advised shots, but maybe that's just what the defense is giving them. I'd also like to see some more emotion out there, it seems like only sometimes are the guys really pushing hard.

That said, I'm still generally pretty happy. GWHoopsters less so, as many are thinking GW will win 5 conference games, but I see a bit more than that. 

So while GW might not win a million games this season, I'm still looking forward to the rest of the year. And Wednesday the good guys face Temple at the Smith Center! More on that soon.

And here's the Storify from the @colonialhoops Twitter and others about the two games:

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

GW vs St. Bonaventure tonight to begin the A-10 season; don't eat Olean chips

The second half of the season (or you could call it a new start) begins tonight at the Smith Center versus the unimaginably named Bonnies of St. Bonaventure.

SBU, in apparently super-boring Olean, NY (not named for the chips that make you poop), is 7-6 on the year with a weak schedule at 200 overall, with their best win coming over RPI #168 Niagara -- blech. So maybe they aren't as good as the record indicates -- so say some GWHoopsters.

RealTimeRPI actually predicts the good guys to win 74-70 and Statsheet predicts a 3 point GW win, so that's a good sign.

Denizens of GWHoops also report that GW will be starting 4 freshman, presumably having struggling Lasan Kromah start the game on the bench. Maybe that will energize him.

St. Bona's is also without their star of the past few years (and probably the only reason you may have heard of them lately) Andrew Nicholson, who is now with the Orlando Magic. Good on ya, Andrew.

I think this is a winnable game, but we'll see how the guys respond. Hopefully it won't make us poop ourselves.

Here's the official (and less poop-focused) GWSports preview.

Monday, January 7, 2013

That Georgia game was no fun: a Heart of Darkness-themed recap

So I was cautiously optimistic about the Georgia game, as I thought things were looking up. I guess I wasn't cautious enough. GW almost pulled out a hideously ugly game by both the good guys at the Bulldogs, but due to a combination of tough UGa defense and questionable shot selection, the Colonials fell short, 52-41. To use the cliche, it was closer than the score indicates, but not any prettier than the score indicates.

The box score was painful too: GW did force 25 turnovers and held UGa to 36.4% shooting in the first half, but that ballooned to 64.7% in the second half. GW shot 24.6% for the game including 0/12 from three and a yucky 16.7% from the floor in the second half. Blech. GW was also outrebounded by 8. On the bright side, Kevin Larsen was 6/6 from the floor. That means, however, that the rest of the team was 8/51. GW did shoot 86.7% from the foul line though. #babysteps

So here's our Twitter rundown, which can be compared to Marlow's descent down the Congo River. (Or maybe up the Nung River into Cambodia.) Not sure who Kurtz would be though, maybe Coach Lonergan? Big George? The basket? Like a lot that happened in the Belgian Congo, it's unclear.

But hey, GW begins conference play this Wednesday vs. St. Bonaventure at the Smith Center. Let the new season begin!

Friday, January 4, 2013

GW at Georgia tonight, and it's on TV!

Today GW faces another Georg-, this time the University of Georgia. It's at 7 pm in Athens, GA, but lucky for us the game is on Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic and also streaming at WatchESPN.com, plus 1500AM/WFED.com.

Recently I posted that I was optimistic, and I still am. Maybe not that the good guys will win it, but that we'll continue to improve.

UGa is 5-7 and this could be a winnable game. Herve at GWHoops.com does the outlook and gives UGa the win by 5, but hey, that's pretty close. It seems the key is stopping Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who's averaging 17.5 ppg.

I'll be watching and maybe even live-tweeting a bunch of jokes -- @colonialhoops. Maybe we'll see Michael Stipe, the B-52s or Neutral Milk Hotel in the stands (doubtful.) If anything the game will give me a reason to listen to my old REM albums. I like Document, Monster, Green and even Up best. I think "Daysleeper" is one of their best songs. I think that's some kind of sacrilege.







Thursday, January 3, 2013

We're near the halfway point: what have we learned?

We lostOur Colonials are 6-6 and near the halfway point of the hoops season -- what have we learned?

The team has been disappointing at times (see the Mt. St. Mary's game) and given us some good reasons to hope, like the close loss to a good Kansas State team and other recent strong performances. I've missed a few games lately due to holidays and all that, but I'm starting to feel optimistic. For one, the team has keep each game close lately. Despite a stretch where the good guys lost three in a row to Bradley, K-State and Rutgers, those three losses were by a total of 10 points. And since that stretch, GW beat VMI pretty soundly and crushed Sacred Heart, holding them to only 38 points.

It seems the defense is toughening up while the guys are finding their roles on offense. Of course, the last two opponents have been less than stellar, but to me it seems that things are looking up.

And what have we learned individually? First and foremost, Isaiah Armwood is a beast. The big man, who has another year of eligibility after this one, is leading the team in scoring with 13.3 and rebounding with 8.4. Those are Mike Hall-ian numbers. He's also blocking shots at a prodigious pace, at 3.1 a game. That's more than any Colonials player I can remember. According to the media guide from a few years ago, Yinka Dare has the school record with 84 blocks in 30 games in 1992-93. Armwood has 37 in 12 contests so far, so that's possible. Let's hope he keeps it up.

Lasan Kromah looks like he's stepping it up lately, both scoring and rebounding, though GWHoopsters say he looks like he's pressing too much. He's averaging 10.1 ppg though he's only shooting 20.7% from three, way down from his previous seasons. He has, however, improved his free throw shooting greatly, from 51.2% as a freshman to 80.8% this year.

Argentine freshman Patricio Garino has been another revelation, being a glue guy -- playing good defense, scoring, hustling and doing the little things. He leads the team with 2.1 steals per game along with 9.6 ppg. I really look forward to seeing him develop over the years.

Danish freshman Kevin Larsen has also impressed me down low, playing with nice post moves around the basket. It's good to see a young, true big man for GW.

'Merican freshman point guard Joe McDonald has had flashes of brilliance but still needs some time. He's turning the ball over a lot but has been improving on that front as the season moves on. Plus he's a freshman, it takes time to get used to the college game. I'm looking forward to seeing more from him too.

That brings us to McDonald's frequent backcourt mate, Bryan Bynes. Bynes's shooting has been abysmal. He's shooting 22.5% from the floor and 18.2% from three, and his free throw shooting has declined precipitously from previous years as well. I'm generally going bonkers in the stands anytime he shoots. He's playing almost 20 minutes per game and only scoring 2.2 ppg, which is less than John Kopriva who plays just over half as much. I'm not trying to pile on Bynes, just point out that he has been playing a lot worse than in previous seasons. I think that means he's going to bounce back in the rest of the year -- law of averages. Apparently he's been working on his shot a lot in the gym, and against Sacred Heart he was tied for the team lead with 10 points, which is a good sign. If Bynes starts to hit shots and becomes another scoring option, that will be big for this team.

For the rest of the guys, Nemanja Mikic hasn't been his normal sweet-shooting self, shooting only 30% and 33% from the floor and three respectively, and Dwayne Smith is decent but not spectacular. I haven't seen enough from Paris Maragkos or Kethan Savage to make an assessment, but GWHoopsters seem pretty positive on the two. Johnathan Davis has played limited minutes.

David Pellom, who averaged more than 10 ppg last year, may be able to come back for start of the conference season. That would be good.

So what's this all mean? In short, I'm optimistic. It seems the team is getting crisper on offense and stronger on defense, though I'd like to see what happens when Georgia or another team presses the Colonials. Earlier in the season it was a disaster, but seemingly improved somewhat. We'll see what happens when the good guys face VCU's Havoc defense.

Off the court, student support has seemed to be on the upswing after a great crowd before the Kansas State game, which was on CBS Sports. (Also, GW, maybe you should offer free beer before more games.) The athletic department has been strong on marketing, and Smith Center food still leaves something to be desired.

In short, I'm pretty happy with 6-6. What do you think?
You can get college basketball tickets here.