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.