Category Archives: Men’s Basketball
The men’s side of the ball…
At 23-7 and 11-5 in conference play, the George Washington Colonials, picked to finish 10th in the Atlantic 10 coaches and media poll, has emerged as the clear surprise team in the A10 as they enter the conference tournament as the third seed.
This is the ONLY team in Division I basketball with five players averaging in double figures and more than 11 points per game.
Did I get your attention yet?
Head Coach Mike Lonergan and those inside the program at GW had a good feeling going into this season because of what they saw this past summer when the team first practiced together and would tell you this season is no fluke.
“We’re just more mature this year… We’re older and we have a better sense of what’s at stake every time we play,” said Lonergan in an interview with CBS Sports Network’s Jon Rothstein following GW’s win at home against VCU on January 14th.
Transfer grad students Isaiah Armwood (Villanova) and Maurice Creek (Indiana) have contributed greatly to the team’s success and have provided a calming veteran presence to a multi-talented sophomore core.
Creighton’s Doug McDermott who averages 25.8 ppg and is the inevitable Wooden Award winner could not conquer the “great wall of Armwood,” who held the prolific scorer to a mere seven points as GW took down the then 20th-ranked team (now 14th) in the nation at a neutral site.
Armwood, who has tallied 10 double-doubles this season, is not the only Colonial who rises to the occasion when called upon. Creek came up big with 25 points against Maryland on December 8th, including a game-winning jumper with 0.6 seconds remaining in the 77-75 win at the BB&T Classic. Creek leads the team in scoring with 14.6 points-per-game.
“I told coach when I went over there that I wanted the ball. I wanted the ball and he got me the ball,” Creek said.
Lonergan would later add that Creek called for the shot in a “respectful” way.
It’s not just the ‘Zeek’ and ‘Creek’ show in Foggy Bottom. GW’s battered sophomores have another year of experience and continue to gel with one another as they look to capitalize on a great opportunity in Brooklyn this weekend.
The Colonials’ sophomore class includes Kethan Savage, Patricio Garino, Kevin Larsen, and Joe McDonald, who average 13.4, 12.3, 11.3 and 8.4 points-per-game respectively. They’ve been able to still be successful while battling injuries the entire season.
Garino and Savage both have missed significant time. Garino dealt with a broken finger on his left hand, which caused him to miss seven games, and Savage’s broken metatarsal has sidelined him since GW’s win against St. Bonaventure on January 18th.
Starting point guard Joe McDonald has also battled right hip injuries all season long, to the point where his practice time is extremely limited.
Now it’s March and GW is at full strength. The last time GW was at full strength was for their aforementioned win at home over VCU on January 14th.
Savage’s return to the lineup should take some pressure off floor general McDonald, who has excelled in his absence. But more importantly, it is big for a team that, in Savage’s absence, semi-stumbled down the stretch with an 8-4 record in conference play.
In Savage’s absence, GW lost road games to VCU, then 10th-ranked Saint Louis and Dayton, as well a home game to UMass. There really is not a whole lot to be ashamed of in those losses, particularly their loss at Dayton on February 1st, where the Colonials were without starters Creek, McDonald and Savage. There is not a team in college basketball that can compete at the same level without three starters, particularly against a 22-win team like Dayton.
“Its so hard to win on the road, especially in the Atlantic 10 conference, which is definitely a top six conference right now,” said Lonergan on ESPN’s Freddie Coleman show.
The one loss that Lonergan and company would like to have back is at home against UMass on February 15th.
“One of our goals is to go undefeated at home,” Said Lonergan.
The UMass loss was a tough one for GW, and the team that took the floor that day minus Kethan Savage could have brought it home, but they fell just short by a score of 67-61. The game was closer than the final would indicate.
Assuming that the sixth seed UMass, ranked as high as 10th nationally during the season, takes care of business against 11-seed Rhode Island in the A10 tournament, GW will have an opportunity to avenge their only home loss.
This is a complete team that plays a very unpredictable offensive style, which is a by-product of their versatility. They have six guys who can be “the guy” on any given night, and at the same time they mesh exceptionally well together. They will find great success in the Atlantic 10 tournament and at full strength they should be a dangerous and underrated force to be reckoned with in the NCAA tourney.
Joe McDonald – He’s really stepped up his game of late. McDonald is undoubtedly GW’s greatest beneficiary from the Savage injury as he’s received the bulk of the minutes at point guard and is now delivering on the promise he displayed last season, including a 21-point effort in a loss at tenth-ranked Saint Louis. He has also established himself as a premiere threat from beyond the arc, shooting 39.7 percent for the year, something we did not see from him last year.
Behind the Veil:
Nick Griffin – The freshman shooting guard has shown signs of life shooting in his very young and promising career. In limited minutes this season, Nick Griffin has shot 52.5 percent from the field and 52 percent from beyond the arc. The odds of him getting many minutes this postseason are low, but the future is bright for this young shooter.
Mike Lonergan’s 1-3-1 Defense has been punishing on teams on the inside and has restricted passing lanes all season long.
Free throw shooting – GW ranks 309th in the nation from the charity stripe shooting only 65.6 percent.
The same 1-3-1 defense has been susceptible to allowing three-point outbursts to opponents.
GW beats a UMass team that has snuck away with many wins this season, but at the same time they have played great competition with a strength-of-schedule ranked 45th in the country and a RPI of 16.
GW would presumably play VCU, absolutely the best team in this conference, but to ask “HAVOC” to play back-to-back games, in my opinion, is a very tall order, and is the lone reason that GW could (and will) beat them.
VCU escaped their only back-to-back this season with a win against Long Beach State 73-67. The only other time they played a game within 48 hours this season was in South Philly vs. Saint Joseph’s after a home game against Rhode Island. VCU lost to the Hawks 69-62.
Given the volatility of the Atlantic 10 Conference this season, for me to tell you who GW will play in the championship would be mildly foolish. I’m going to do it anyway.
In my opinion the two best teams in the bracket are on the same side (GW/VCU) so an upset of Saint Louis would not be a surprise. Saint Joe’s has stumbled of late, with losses to GW and La Salle, while Dayton has risen to the occasion through a tough four-game gauntlet, including three wins vs. Saint Louis, UMass and Richmond. Their only loss came against Dayton. Dayton is playing their best basketball of the year and I expect them to beat Fordham and Saint Joes.
That makes it Saint Louis against Dayton in the semis. Last time out Dayton got the Billikens in foul trouble and took care of business. I do think that this pre-tourney break will help Saint Louis rediscover their aggressive style and defense-first identity. Saint Louis will beat Dayton in the semis, handily.
That brings GW and Saint Louis for the championship and automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
I broadcasted the GW-Saint Louis game for WRGW on February 22nd at Saint Louis. I saw a young, up-and-coming team take on the old guard that is Saint Louis and their exceptional senior class. The Colonials faltered in the final minute; the game was much closer than the seven-point loss would indicate. Joe McDonald attempted a couple of game-tying threes within the final 40 seconds. However, the Colonials still lost 66-59.
I believe the return of Kethan Savage to the lineup will be a game-changer. GW will defeat Saint Louis and take home the Atlantic 10 Championship.
There you have it folks! Thanks for reading and enjoy the tournament.
WRGW SPORTS DIRECTOR
On December 13, 2010 the bright future of Steven E. Smith (B.A. ’08), an alumni of WRGW Sports, was cut tragically short by a car accident when he was just 24 years old. This past Friday, on what would have been Smith’s 28th birthday, WRGW District Radio, in collaboration with Smith’s family, dedicated their Marvin Center studio in his honor, renaming it the Steven E. Smith Broadcasting Center, so that his memory and legacy with the radio station will live on for years to come.
Smith served the GW community as a broadcaster on WRGW Sports and the vice-president of Colonial Army. When he wasn’t calling Men’s and Women’s basketball games for the station, he was the radio voice of the Baltimore Orioles AA affiliate, the Bowie Baysox.
Smith was statistical whiz and lover of all things sports, but especially his New York Yankees and New Jersey Devils. He cherished his time with WRGW and was extremely dedicated to his work there. In an application for Sports Director submitted in 2007, Smith wrote, “WRGW has meant the world to me…Though there are hours of grueling, unpaid work, I feel almost compelled to lead the department and give back to the station that has meant so much to me for the past three years.” Though he did not get the position, his legacy of hard work and dedication live on with the members of the sports department today, and will continue to live on thanks to this dedication.
This past Friday, with friends and family in attendance, a dedication ceremony was held in the Marvin Center for the newly named Steven E. Smith Broadcasting Center. The dedication, hosted by Dean of Student Affairs Peter Konwerski, revealed a plaque and a picture hanging outside the door of the broadcasting center, which will hang in its place for as long as the station remains there.
After the official dedication, attendees were asked to share reflections of the accomplished life that Smith lived. Smith’s father, Dr. Matthew Smith, mother, Mrs. Rhonda Smith, and brother, Jared Smith, opened up the reflections talking about Steven’s love for sports, broadcasting, and the station which gave him his first broadcasting opportunity. Mrs. Smith spoke about the footprints that Steven left behind on the people that he touched. This became incredibly apparent as friends of Steven in attendance, including former roommates, broadcast partners, classmates and a family friend from his childhood, took the microphone to share stories and fond memories of Steven’s passion for sports, radio, and friendship.
The next day, the George Washington Women’s basketball team played host to the #21 Dayton Flyers and won 88-79, earning them the 4th seed and a double-bye in the Atlantic 10 Tournament. It was the first game to be produced from the just-dedicated Steven E. Smith Broadcasting Center. Before the game, WRGW Sports aired a story about the life of Steven Smith and the dedication of the studio. Alumnus Nkwa Asonye produced the story, with audio provided by Dr. Smith (listen below). The story re-aired before the Men’s game Sunday against rival George Mason, a game that GW won 66-58.
From this day forward, every song played, every news story broken, every trade discussed, every match analyzed, every slam dunk scored, and every GW basketball game broadcasted on WRGW will be produced from the Steven E. Smith Broadcasting Center, and we couldn’t be more honored by that distinction.
From all of us at WRGW and WRGW Sports we would like to thank everyone who attended the dedication on Friday and the GW Alumni House for organizing the event. Finally, we would especially like to thank Steven’s family for ensuring that future broadcasters on the station can get the same experience from it as Steven so cherished and for their extreme support and generosity. Thank you so much.
WRGW SPORTS DIRECTOR
George Washington posted their highest margin of victory since 2006 in a dominating 94-50 victor over the Delaware State Hornets last Tuesday night. The victory extended the men’s winning to four games heading into the Wooden Legacy tournament in Orange County, California this weekend.
The highlight reel was loaded for the Colonials in this game, as they were able to net 10 3-pointers and throw down 9 thunder-jams against the Hornets. Senior forward Isiah Armwood was the game’s leading scorer, scoring 17 points while grabbing 5 rebounds. Sophomore Keith Woods and Freshman Tom Pierce had the call of a monster alley-oop slam by Armwood for WRGW Sports.
Newcomers Nick Griffin and Maurice Creek lead the way for the Colonials from deep as they were able to shoot a combined 7-7 from 3 point range. After the game Griffin described the tandem on twitter as the “#SplashBrothers”.
Six total players scored in double digits for the Colonials. Along with the three already mentioned, sophomores Patricio Garino, Kevin Larsen and Paris Maragkos rounded out the top scorers for GW.
After jumping out to a 54-19 lead at half, the Colonials were comfortably in the driver’s seat. In the second half, Head Coach Mike Lonergan was able to play a lot of his back of the bench players. Maragkos was able to score a career high 10 points and freshman Skyler White completed 2 free throws for his first career points as a Colonial.
The Hornets were lead by 15 points from center Kendall Gray and 11 points from Tyshawn Bell in an overall poor shooting effort for the team (17-51 FG).
The Colonials take their 4-0 record across the country to Southern California for their biggest test of the young season in the Wooden Legacy. They will play the reigning ACC champions and a Sweet 16 team in the Miami Hurricanes at 2 o’clock EST on Thanksgiving day. The rest of the Wooden Legacy field includes #25 Marquette, Arizona State, Creighton, San Diego State, College of Charleston and, host for the first two rounds of the tournament, California State Fullerton. After playing in Fullerton on Thursday and Friday, the final round of the tournament will be held on Sunday at the Honda Center in Anaheim. Stay tuned to WRGW Sports for complete coverage of what should be a very exciting Wooden Legacy tournament. Be sure to follow @WRGWSports on Twitter for schedule updates and broadcast links. Senior Tim Riordan and Junior Mike Martenak will be covering all of the games live from Orange County on WRGW Sports – Colonials Radio Central.
WRGW SPORTS DIRECTOR
The Men started off the season on the right foot with three impressive victories, including a 100 point performance and a come from behind road victory to a tough opponent.
Radford 54 George Washington 76
The Men’s squad opened up their 100th season against the Radford Highlanders of the Big South Conference on two Fridays ago. The grills for the home opener tailgate were hot, but the GW shooters were even hotter, especially Kethan Savage who led the team with 18 points on the way to a definitive 76-54 victory.
Radford got off to a quick 4-1 lead, but a run by the Colonials, including a Nemanja Mikic three pointer, put them ahead and they wouldn’t trail for the rest of the game. Here is senior Tim Riordan and Sophomore Zach Simon with the call for WRGW Sports.
The Colonials took a 13 point lead into halftime, after a Maurice Creek buzzer beater put the Colonials up 39-26. Creek would finish the game with 12 points.
The second half was led by Kethan Savage, who had no trouble carving up the Highlander defense and getting to the bucket with ease. He finished the game with a career high in points (18), rebounds (6), assists (5), steals (5) and minutes (23) in an all-around effort by the sophomore off the bench. He was named the Player of the game and would later go on to be named Colonial of the Week.
Isiah Armwood struggled from the floor (0-5 FG), but still scored 7 points from the free throw line and pulled down a game high 12 rebounds. The new look Kevin Larsen, who shed 16 pounds this offseason, scored 16 points on 6-8 shooting. Defensively, the Colonials were able to hold the Highlander to just 35.7% shooting. Ya Ya Anderson led the way for Radford with 15 points and 3 assists.
Maine 81 George Washington 108
It seems fitting that in the 100th season of George Washington men’s basketball the team would eclipse 100 points for the first time since December of 2005, a feat that GW accomplished on Tuesday night, defeating the Maine Black Bears 108-81.
It was an extremely balanced performance for the Colonials as five players scored in double digits, including 13 from Nemanja Mickic and Kevin Larsen, 18 for Kethan Savage and Isiah Armwood, and 19 points for Maurice Creek.
Creek hit 4 3-pointers in the firs half en route to match his career high of 5 3-point field goals in the game. Here is freshman Jack Linnehan and sophomore Alex Hausner with the call for WRGW Sports.
Going into halftime with a 56-46 lead, the 1448 person crowd who came to this Tuesday night game was buzzing with anticipation of a 100 point game.
That wasn’t the only thing the crowd had to cheer for in the second half, as an emphatic block by Savage led to a fast break going the other way and a highlight reel slam dunk for Armwood.
The Black Bears, in their first all time game against George Washington, were lead by an impressive performance by Shaun Lawton, who had 23 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists.
The century mark was finally reached with 3:09 left to go in the game. Kethan Savage drived the ball to the hoop and scored the layup that would put 3 digits on the Smith Center scoreboard for the first time since 2005.
George Washington 75 Manhattan 72
The Colonials were tested for the first time in their 100th season on the road Saturday night against Manhattan College. A GW was able to overcome a 13 point first half deficit to defeat the Jaspers 75-72, lead by a huge second half performance by Graduate Student Maurice Creek.
GW came out strong in the first half, controlling the first three minutes and getting out to a 9-5 lead with the help of a Creek 3-pointer. Here is senior Tim Riordan and junior Mike Martenak on the call
Some poor substitutions gave the lead and momentum to the Jaspers. With the entire second unit on the court, GW struggled to do much of anything right, playing sloppy on both sides of the ball. Even the starters couldn’t slow the momentum of the Jaspers as they went on a 16-3 run midway through the first half to make the score 29-16. The Colonials were able to steady the ship with solid offensive play from senior Isiah Armwood and sophomore Kevin Larsen, but the Jaspers still took a 39-30 lead into halftime.
The tide turned quickly out of the locker room as the Colonials went on a 15-5 run in 4:21 to take a 45-44 lead. Sophomore Patricio Garino, playing his first game of the season returning from a fractured finger injury, scored the layup to put the Colonials ahead.
The second twenty minutes were all Maurice Creek. Creek scored 24 of his 27 points in the second half, nearly half of the team’s total second half points. He was 6-9 from the field, 4-6 from beyond the arc, and a crucial 8-8 from the free throw line, on a night when the team shot just 61.5% from the charity strip. Creek’s performance was highlighted by two clutch 3-pointers in a row to give the team a 7 point lead with 11:42 to go, their largest lead of the game at that time. Listen in as the second shot gets GW fans chanting in the away arena.
The lead was never given back to the Jaspers, though they came within 2 points twice in the closing 2 minutes. In a crucial possession with under 30 seconds left to go, Savage milked the shot-clock down to single digits and then hit a jumper that would put the game out of reach for the Jaspers.
The Jaspers were lead by a single-handed performance by senior guard George Beamon. Beamon who put up a season-high 34 points and grabbed 9 rebounds in the losing effort.
Sophomore Kevin Larsen recorded his first career double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
The Colonials return home Tuesday night to face off against Deleware St. in their final tune up game before The Wooden Legacy in Anaheim, CA over Thanksgiving break. Junior Keith Woods and freshman Thomas Pierce will have the call from the Smith Center. Tune into this game and all GW basketball games live on WRGW Sports – Colonials Radio Central at wrgwsports.com.