Saturday, March 15, 2014

A10 Quarterfinals: A Team Plays in Brooklyn

Much has been made of GW's "monumental" home-court advantage this season, and the Colonials' success at home trumped their inconsistent play on the road. Moreover, a 67-61 loss to U. Mass stood as the only blemish on an otherwise perfect season in D.C. Friday night, GW had the opportunity for revenge against the Minutemen. In an A-10 tournament that has already seen its #1 seed St. Louis fall, the #3 Colonials rallied behind a team effort to defeat #6 U. Mass, 85-77. 

Six players scored in double digits as senior Nemanja Mikic added some early outside shooting off the bench. As has been the case all season, GW's defensive presence won the game. The Minutemen made 43.1% of their shots, even with a late rally, and turned the ball over 17 times. It was certainly refreshing to see GW's 1-3-1 zone, which had been exploited in the few games coming into this game, look so effective again. I can't imagine why U. Mass kept passing to the corners, unless they really enjoyed getting trapped there. 

(Brb, adding "PhotoShop skills" to my résumé)

GW had jumped out to an early lead that was cut to 35-31 late in the first half. A three-pointer by Nick Griffin , a quick steal by Creek (who showed deft hands all night with four steals), and a lay-up by Armwood swung that all-important momentum back in GW's favor. 

Tomorrow the Colonials take on #2 VCU in the Semifinals. Despite the victory today, GW turned the ball over nineteen times and only hit 64% of their free throws. VCU's Havoc defense has been discussed ad nauseam, and such an aggressive defense has a proclivity to foul.  With guard Kethan Savage seemingly delayed until the NCAA tournament and Joe McDonald (bothered by a hip injury for most of conference play) on the second day of a back-to-back, the Rams will prove a difficult test at the Barclay's Center. 

The game is being aired tomorrow at 4:00 on NBCSN. I'm not a gambling man, as I'm in college and can't wager negative money, but I'd wager that whoever wins the contest between GW and VCU will end up winning the A10 title. Raise High. 

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