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 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.
Men’s Basketball Writer
PHILADELPHIA – The George Washington Colonials fell to the La Salle Explorers amidst a barrage of three-pointers for the second time this season, this time losing 84-70 at the Tom Gola Arena on Wednesday night.
GW allowed La Salle to hit 11 three-pointers in their first meeting on February 2nd, an 80-71 La Salle win at the Charles E. Smith Center. This time out, they allowed La Salle to convert on 12 of their 22 three-point attempts. This, combined with 16 turnovers and only one made three-pointer of their own sealed the Colonials’ fourth straight loss and seventh in their last nine games.
However, on offense, GW was pretty effective. They shot 55 percent as a team and grabbed 11 more rebounds than La Salle. Isaiah Armwood secured his eighth double-double of the season, leading the team with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Lasan Kromah added 15 points on 7-13 shooting in 23 minutes off the bench while Kethan Savage put together a solid effort with 12 points on 6-9 from the field. Kevin Larsen also had a solid, all-around performance with eight points, five rebounds, and six assists.
Yet, the Colonials were perpetually behind from the 15:36 mark of the first half after beginning the game in a back-and-forth tussle with the Explorers. After grabbing a 10-9 lead, GW would allow a 19-4 run over the next four minutes to put La Salle ahead for good. They surrendered 10 of La Salle’s 12 three-pointers in the first half alone and could not find an answer to stifle the Explorers’ precision from beyond the arc. By halftime, a Tyreek Duren buzzer beater put La Salle ahead by 10 at 47-37.
The Explorers would take further control of the game in the second half, keeping GW at bay and never letting them get closer than 12 at any point. Furthermore, La Salle’s effective, time consuming possessions toward the end of the half thwarted any chance of a late GW comeback.
Ramon Galloway scored 29 points on 11-17 shooting in his final game in front of the home fans at Tom Gola Arena. Tyreek Duren added 19 points while Jerrell Wright had 16 points and seven rebounds for a La Salle squad that shot 61 percent from the field as a team.
The defensive effort from the Colonials is certain to raise a number of red flags from fans as they head into Saturday’s win-or-go-home matchup with Dayton (17-12, 7-8 Atlantic 10) at the Smith Center. GW’s defense, which had been and still is a strength, was porous tonight as they did nothing to deter La Salle from getting any and every shot they wanted throughout the game. However, the Colonials have also proven that they can step up defensively at any given moment, causing problems for such formidable opponents as Kansas State, Temple, Butler, and Saint Louis.
GW (12-16, 6-9 Atlantic 10) will need their defense to step in a huge way on Saturday if they are to emerge with a win and a ticket punched to Brooklyn for the Atlantic 10 Tournament. As was alluded to before, Saturday’s contest is effectively the Colonials’ unofficial first game of the tournament, after Charlotte came back to steal a win in overtime over lowly Duquesne, moving them to 7-8. The Colonials now sit on the outside looking in, a game behind Charlotte, Dayton, Richmond, and St. Bonaventure who occupy spots nine through 12 and with no possible way of securing a bid to the postseason with a loss. The task is extremely simple and for Mike Lonergan’s crew, it will be all hands on deck in order to secure the required win. Otherwise, their drive to the Atlantic 10 Tournament, dubbed “No Sleep Till Brooklyn” within the university, will end in a premature slumber.
You can catch all the action of Saturday’s contest with Dayton beginning at 1:45 with tipoff at 2 p.m. on WRGW-Colonials Radio Central at gwradio.com.
Men’s Basketball Writer
RICHMOND, Va. – For the majority of their game in Virginia’s state capital on Wednesday night, the Colonials controlled the pace and tempo and controlled their own fate in a must-win game. However, it all unraveled late as the Colonials a nine-point second half lead and lost to the rival Richmond Spiders 73-64 at the Robins Center.
Freshman center Kevin Larsen led the way for GW with 16 points on 6-8 shooting to go along with five rebounds. Fellow freshman guard Kethan Savage had one of the best games of his young collegiate career, scoring 12 points on 4-5 shooting. Isaiah Armwood finished with eight points and nine rebounds, coming short of another double-double, while Patricio Garino had eight points and eight rebounds of his own.
The Colonials got out to a flying start, using a palpable sense of urgency to jump out to a 21-7 lead 8:45 into the first half. However, in hindsight, the next 11 minutes of the first half can be looked at as a crucial missed opportunity for GW to put away the Spiders early, as they allowed Richmond to hang within striking distance, ultimately allowing the Spiders to tie the game at 36 heading into halftime.
The second half began much the same way the first did, as GW used a 12-3 run to build a nine-point lead with 16:10 to play. However, once again the Colonials missed a golden opportunity to put the Spiders away, instead allowing Richmond to chip away at the lead on their home floor. Richmond would tie the game at 55 with 7:13 to play and take the lead for good 23 seconds later with a big Alonzo Nelson-Ododa three-pointer. Crucial moments down the stretch for GW to tie the game would be met with missed opportunities and Richmond would get timely baskets to put the game out of reach.
Cedrick Lindsay led the way scoring-wise for the Spiders with 19 points while Greg Robbins added 15 points and Darien Brothers scored 12 for a Richmond team looking to improve their conference standing and get clear of the logjam of 6-7 teams occupying spots nine through twelve.
Unfortunately for GW, the loss puts them square in the middle of that logjam, with the standings listing them in 12th, but holding the same conference record as Charlotte, St. Joseph’s, and St. Bonaventure. Furthermore, Dayton’s crushing win over Charlotte puts the Flyers just one game back of GW, making the Colonials’ standing even more precarious.
This dynamic combined with the fact that the Colonials had a couple of chances during the course of the game to secure the win makes the loss especially devastating for GW. With three games remaining, it is blatantly obvious that they have to go 2-1 during the final stretch at the worst. However, with two of their final three coming against nationally ranked Saint Louis and an extremely tough La Salle team which has already beaten GW once this season, securing a 2-1 finish seems like a shaky proposition at best. The way the season is shaking out, it seems as though the Colonials are on a collision course to play a de facto Atlantic 10 Tournament play-in game against Dayton on March 9th at the Smith Center.
But for now, GW (12-14, 6-7 Atlantic 10) must focus on their next game, a matchup with #18 Saint Louis (22-5, 11-2 Atlantic 10) on Saturday in Foggy Bottom. Coverage starts at 3:45 with tipoff at 4 p.m. on WRGW- Colonials Radio Central at gwradio.com.
Last season was hailed as a revival of George Washington men’s basketball. New head coach Mike Lonergan came with a lot of momentum. He assembled a new coaching staff and hoped to lead last year’s 17-win to a bigger and better finish. There were even aspirations of a fringe NCAA tournament bid.
By season’s end though, both fans and the team found themselves staring at a 10-21 record, another first round exit at the hands of the Dayton Flyers, and the graduation of their leading scorer and current Tulsa 66ers rookie Tony Taylor.
Consider this season “The Foggy Bottom Revival: Take Two.”
Returning to the fold are seniors Lasan Kromah and David Pellom, the team’s top returning scorers from last year. Kromah, who scored 11.1 points per game, showed some rust a year removed from his foot injury but still showed some game-changing potential. From his double-double performance – with a career-high 14 rebounds – against Xavier and two strong scoring totals against Richmond, there’s still more to come from the local guard. Pellom averaged career highs in points (10.4), rebounds (6.1), and shot an A-10 leading and program-record 68.5% from the field. With his energy and as the GW’s principal low-post scoring threat, Pellom served as a crucial staple in the rotation even though he only started four games. The Colonials are going to miss him early in the season though as he’s still recovering from left wrist surgery in the off-season.
Senior guard Bryan Bynes was the lone backup at point-guard last year and will likely keep that role. He comes into this season as the team’s best perimeter defender and will look to expand his offensive versatility. Swingman Dwayne Smith is coming into his senior season healthy for the first time in his Colonials career and will likely start right out of the gate. Concussion symptoms plagued him all last year, but he showed a glimpse of his strong sophomore season in a late six-game stretch where he averaged 11 points and four rebounds. Coupled with his already tough inside play, if he regains his ability to stretch the floor with his jump shot, he will be GW’s biggest x-factor on both ends of the floor.