Saturday, November 8, 2014

GW trounces Bloomsburg 89-47, freshmen look good

GW vs Bloomsburg (exhibition)

It was an exhibition game against a school I hadn't heard of before, but 89-47 is never a bad thing.

Despite big problems with turnovers (GW had 21) the good guys played well offensively and pretty good defensively, with six players in double figures and long looks at the many freshmen on the team.

Freshman forward Yuta Watanabe impressed especially -- the big man from Kagawa, Japan (via St. Thomas More School in Connecticut) was fast, passed well, shot well from midrange and outside, and on one tremendous rebound, showed he can leap out of the gym. He finished with 12 points and 8 boards, including a three, and hustled: at one point he tossed a half court pass on a fast break then ran to be in position for the rebound. He also blocked three shots. He is pretty skinny, however, and was occasionally manhandled down low -- he'll need to work on that. I'm excited to see more of him.

The other freshmen impressed in places too: Darian Bryant, a 220 pound 6'4" guard (my friend said he was built like Carl Elliott) was fearless, attacking the rim and making some nice moves to score. He finished with 13 points and 4 boards. Point guard Paul Jorgensen is very quick and has a good handle, but occasionally dribbled himself into trouble. He also dribbled himself out of trouble again, and finished with 3 assists and 5 rebounds, only shooting once. Anthony Swan, a lanky 6'7" forward, didn't play a ton but was efficient: 10 points in 7 minutes, including an impressive, acrobatic layup on a break. Matt Cimino, the 6'10", 213 pound forward, collected 10 rebounds but had some trouble on inbounds plays when Bloomsburg pressed. He also looked a bit confused occasionally, but then again he's a freshman in an exhibition game, that's to be expected.

That wasn't just Cimino though, the team as a whole struggled with inbounds plays, often passing from big to big and turning it over. They'll need to work on that. The team was a bit cavalier with the ball, sometimes making ill advised passed or dribbling into the corners, but they also attacked the passing lanes for 9 steals.

As for the rest of the team, they looked like last year, which is to say pretty good. Kevin Larsen was the KevLar we remember, making a lot of nice post moves to score 11, and also had 4 rebounds and 5 assists, mostly on nice passes out of the post or to an open player when he was double-teamed. Patricio Garino delivered a couple of nice dunks and scored 16, plus 4 assists and 3 steals, as he is wont to do. Joe McDonald had a quieter game, only scoring with a couple of minutes to go, but did have 6 assists. Kethan Savage had 10 points and 4 boards, but also 5 turnovers. John Kopriva, who will need to step up this season as the only other non-freshman big man, had a sold game, a quiet 11 points and 7 boards.  If he does that every game, it would be fantastic.

The team as a whole shot 66% from the floor versus 24.2% from Bloomsburg, but only some of that can be attributed to GW's pressure. Often it seemed the Huskies' offense was running the Colonials all over the court for open looks, just failing to knock them down. GW only shot 2 for 8 from three, which may be a problem all year, and was 17/28 (61%) from the line -- something else that we hope improves. That said, the good guys also had 21 assists on 35 made baskets, which is nice to see. Here's the box score and recap.

It's an exhibition game, and there's a lot of room for improvement, but considering it was the first game for half the team, I'm pretty pleased.

The team starts their regular season on Friday at 7 pm against Grambling.

Other notes:

30-second shot clock: The game was played with a 30-second shot clock, something the entire Atlantic 10 is doing during their exhibition games.


Concessions: There's now a small third snack bar on the main level selling drinks, chips, candy, a few hot dogs. The downstairs snack bars have upgraded options, including a pretty tasty southwest turkey wrap, nachos (with optional pulled pork), a grilled chicken sandwich, pulled pork BBQ sandwich, waffle fries and more. I look forward to trying the nachos -- the waffles fries were tasty, but it's hard to go wrong with waffle fries. They also have some fancier candy and chips, like gourmet chocolate and chips, along with the usual Snickers, Skittles, etc.

Pops on the radio: Pops Mensah-Bonsu is now the color man on Federal News Radio, along with main commentator Byron Kerr.


You can get college basketball tickets here.