Wednesday, January 6, 2016

GW Women at Dayton Preview

The last time George Washington women lost to Dayton was March 8th, 2014 in the semifinals of the Atlantic 10 Tournament. Since then, GW has won three straight games vs. the Flyers. However, to find the last time GW lost in the regular season to Dayton, one must go all the way back to January 16th, 2014, nearly two full calendar years ago. Needless to say, Dayton has a bone to pick with the Colonials', who enter the game on Sunday at 12-3 (2-0 A10).

The Colonials' are entering Sunday's game coming off a 68-52 win over URI and are 2-0 in the A10, while the Flyers are coming off a 60-48 win over Richmond and are 1-1 in the A10. It is difficult to evaluate how good of a team Dayton is this year. Their résumé features wins over Louisville, Princeton, Vanderbilt and Wisconsin, but loses to Purdue, Gonzaga, and Green Bay and got blow out by 30 points at Duquesne in their A10 opener.

There isn't any doubt that Dayton is still one of the top-three teams in the conference though. More to the point, they have been nearly unbeatable at home. In last year's meeting at UD Arena, GW ended the nation's longest (active) home winning streak with a 69-66 win over the Flyers.

One of the keys to the Colonials' recent success over the Flyers has been their size advantage. GW currently has four players 6'2 or taller, while Dayton has five, so this is a potential game-changer. Dayton also lost one of their best players from last year, Ally Mallot, who graduated and was a top draft pick in the WNBA draft. They do return point guard Kelley Austria, who averages 6.9 points per game. 

The main key to a GW victory is the Colonials' ability to hit perimeter shots constantly,as well as slashing in the lane and getting easy buckets. It is also essential that Jonquel Jones stays out of foul trouble. And it wouldn't hurt if she has 19 points and 17 rebounds like she did in her last outing against Rhode Island on Wednesday. 

On a personal note, I will be driving up to Dayton from Louisville to attend the game, and hopefully will cheer the Colonials on to a 4th straight win over Dayton. Either way, it is bound to be a good game, as it always is when these two rivals meet. And this game should be no exception. 

Friday, December 4, 2015

GW Women at Memphis Preview

It sounds weird to say that a game on December 6th is a must-win, but that's what the Colonials are facing. Sitting at 5-3, there is no doubt that this is not exactly the season GW fans were expecting. Two disappointing loses to Wright State and Florida Gulf Coast, as well as a disappointing showing at Stanford have put the Colonials where they are.

As it stands, GW really only has one quality win: Iowa, who has since dropped out of the rankings. Looking at the rest of the schedule, there may only be two games left (both vs Dayton) to make a statement to the NCAA Selection Committee that this team deserves a good seed, or a bid at all.
Despite this, Jonquel Jones has continued to build her WNBA résumé, most recently scoring her 1,000th point last night against FGCU. She, as well as Caira Washington have been GW's most consistent players, night-in and night-out.

But looking at the FGCU game from last night, two of the Colonials' Achilles heels may have cost the, the game: turnovers and three-point defense. In the last minute alone, GW tallied at least 2 or 3 back-breaking turnovers that sealed their fate. The first came after two missed FGCU free throws, to put GW down one, when Hannah Schaible drove to the basket, attempted to kick the ball out to the corner, but ultimately threw it away, the second came after two made FGCU free throws to put GW down three with 10.1 seconds left. Caira Washington attempted to inbound the ball to Lauren Chase, but the two had a miscommunication. Washington inbounded, but behind Chase's back, where a FGCU player recovered the ball, and ran the clock down to 3.2 before being fouled and sinking a free throw to put the game out of reach.

The other part of the Colonials' struggles was their three-point defense, as FGCU used the three to remain within striking distance, and ultimately win the game. The Colonials' perimeter defensive struggle has been a trend dating back to the American game on opening night, and has continued to cause problem. The Stanford game, for example, is a game GW would have been much closer in had Stanford not hit all those threes in e second quarter to put the Colonials down double digits.
The 64-60 loss to FGCU was the first loss at the Smith Center in 15 games, but was a game they had to have. Moving forward with their schedule, GW heads right back on the road for a date with Memphis, before games against Villanova, Iona, at Illinois, and Hartford before beginning A10 conference play.

If GW hopes to have an 8 seed or higher in the NCAA Tournament, they must win out for the rest of non-conference, and at the very most, two A10 loses. They also must beat Dayton at least once, and also Fordham and Duquesne. The Colonials' still control their own destiny, but the time for bad loses has ended, they must right the ship against Memphis, and continue that momentum moving forward.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Pre-Season Weekend Takeaways

With both GW Men's and Women's pre season games behind them, it's time to reflect on the first real look at the team's this year.

Let's start with the men: the largest thing that stood out was the length of the game. Unofficially, the game lasted nearly 2.5 hours. There were 32 fouls called in the first half. Yikes. But the good news is the Colonials' shot an astounding 83% from the free throw line.

But moving onto the game itself: GW defeated Gannon 97-42 on Saturday night at the Smith Center. The Colonials stumbled a little out of the gates, before cruising to an easy win. One incident of note was Kevin Larsen seemed to be sore in the lower back, and limped into the locker room at halftime. 

GW's destruction of Gannon did not answer many questions, and many uncertainties still remain. The way I see it, GW could make the Final Four of could miss the NIT all together. That's pretty much their window.

Moving on to the Women's game, GW systematically picked apart CNU 95-47 on Sunday afternoon. The biggest takeaway was that GW showed a  significant weakness on three-point defense. CNU practically lived from behind the arc through the entire game, draining 10 total. 

The 4 Quarters format honestly didn't bother me as much as I expected it to. The game actually has a better flow to it, and there's only 6 media timeouts, as opposed to 8 previously. 

Coach Tsipis put extra emphasis on taking advantage of getting the last show of each quarter. Overall, GW had 5 scorers in double figures, a versatility that could really be useful later down the road. The Colonials also experimented with playing three forwards/centers at the same time, with the addition of freshmen Kelsi Mahoney adding depth. 

There we two absenses of note: Hannah Schaible & freshmen Mei-Lyn Bautista. Neither dressed, and Coach Tsipis could not comment on either. 

One pleasant suprise was Camila Tapias, who had 14 points, the majority of which were in the 2nd half. 

There is a lot of optimism in Foggy Bottom right now, and I look for it to continue as the regular season gets rolling this weekend. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Women's 2015-16 Season Preview

The 2014-15 GW Women's basketball (Preseason #18!) team has me feeling really confident and excited for this upcoming season. The Colonials reached the NCAA Tournent for the first time since 2008, and won the A10 Tornament for the first time since 2003.

This years schedule leaves lots of room for GW to prove just how special this team is, highlighted by a date at #20 Stanford on November 21. This years' schedule also includes Fresno State, Iowa, #24 FGCU, and of course, Dayton. 

And now a game-by-game season preview:

GW vs CNU: November 8
GW kicks off the season with a pre-season date with Christoper Newport, and cruises to an easy victory.
Score: W, 98-45

GW vs Grambling State: November 14
Another easy victory for the Colonials, as they move to 1-0.
Score: W, 103-78

GW vs American: November 17
The Colonials face crosstown rival AU Eagles and grab their second win of the season. This one will be a bit closer, as we may be looking ahead to Stanford just a little. 
Score: W, 82-69

GW at #20 Stanford: November 21
The Colonials will FINALLY get the respect they deserve, as I see GW getting a HUGE win for the program. 
Socre: W, 81-73

GW at Fresno State: November 23
The Colonials trounced the Bulldogs last year at the Smith Center, and I see no reason why this year should be any different.,
Score: W, 72-59

GW vs Houston: November 26 [Lone Star Showcase]
The hot start for the Colonials continues to fuel wins, and GW picks up an easy win heading into a showdown with Iowa
Score: W, 88-73

GW vs Iowa: November 27 [Lone Star Showcase]
Despite the fact I believe GW could easily handle the Hawkeyes, I fear the gas tank runs out after 4 games in 7 days, and the Colonials are felt their first loss of the season,
Score: L, 77-71

GW vs vs Wright State: November 28 [Lone Star Showcase]
I expect the Colonials to bounce right back after the loss to Iowa, and right the ship.
Score: W, 92-67

GW vs #24 FGCU: December 3
For this game, I expect a close, high scoring game that could go into overtime, but I see GW getting the win at home.
Score: W, 94-90 OT

GW at Memphis: December 6
I'm going to be completely honest about this game: I REALLY want the ladies' to go out and avenge the Men's 2014 NCAA Tournamnet loss to the Tigers. And they will.
Score: W, 78-56

GW vs Villanova: December 13
The Colonials play their last game vs a power-conference team of the season and I fully expect them to make the most of it.
Score: W, 88-72

GW vs Iona: December 20
The Colonials roll on into Iona with a big first half performance from JJ and Shannon and cruise to the finish.
Score: W, 83-60

GW vs Hartford: December 30
I honestly believe this will be Shannon Cranshaw's coming out party, where she hits 4-5 threes and boosts the Colonials to another win.
Score: W, 90-57

GW at Saint Joes: January 3 (CBSSN)
In their first of 5 nationally televised games, and A10 opener, I expect GW to cruise to an easy win over the Hawks.
Score: W, 77-61

GW vs Rhode Island: January 6 (NBCSN)
As long as Coach Tsipis can keep the team focused and not look ahead to Dayton, I see no reason why GW loses this one.
Score: W, 67-52

GW at Dayton: January 10 (CBSSN)
In a game I hope to attend in person, I can state with absolute confidence that GW's recent domination over the Flyers will continue as GW pulls away late to win at Dayton.
Score: W, 79-64

GW vs La Salle: January 13
GW returns home and is greeted with an easy victory against the Explorers.
Score: W, 78-53

GW at Duquesne: January 17 (ESPNU)
This game leaves me feeling a little unsettled: while I believe GW could easily beat the Dukes, I fear a misstep in Pittsburgh could hand the Colonials their first A10 loss of the season. 
Score: L, 67-59

GW vs UMass: January 20
The Colonials will bounce right back and trounce UMass at home.
Score: W, 91-54

GW vs George Mason: January 23
In their Revolutionary Rivalry opener, GW- as always- will get the W over the Patriots (just make sure the balls are fully inflated)
Score: W, 89-63 

GW at Davidson: January 27
The Colonials will continue, full speed ahead into North Carolina and get the win over Davidson easily.
Score: W, 71-51

GW vs Saint Louis: January 31
Besides Dayton, the Bilikins could pose the biggest threat in the Atlantic 10, and Could take the a colonials into overtime before their upset bid falls short.
Score: W, 95-87 OT

GW at Fordham: February 3
New York has always been a place of success for the Colonials, and will continue to be.
Score: W, 72-49

GW at Richmond: February 7
Much like the URI game on January 6th, as long as GW stays focused and doesn't look ahead, I see the Spiders giving GW no problems.
Score: W, 78-62

GW vs Dayton: February 14 (ESPNU)
Despite it being Valentines Day, I see GW showing Dayton no love, and powering past the Flyers in a closely contested game.
Score: W, 63-58

GW at Saint Bonnaventure: February 17
The last four games of the season should all be easy victories, as they pick up a W vs the Bonnies.
Score: W, 91-71

GW vs VCU: February 20
The Rams also pose no threat as GW continues to climb through the rankings.
Score: W, 92-66

GW vs Richmond: February 24
Senior Night for Aaliyah Brown, DeLacy Anderson, Alexis Chandler and Jonquel Jones gives the Colonials one last home game before the postseason.
Score: W, 71-54

GW at George Mason: February 27
The Colonials close out their season in Fairfax with an easy win over GMU.
Score: W, 89-76

Call is bias or overconfidence, but I see this team going 25-2 (15-1), and will go down as one of the best teams in program history! 

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Men's 2015-16 Season Preview

There is light at the end of the tunnel! After a long summer full of questions, decisions, and uncertainty amoung Colonials' faithful, we finally have the opportunity to size up our competition this year. 

The offseason was headlined with Guard Kethan Savage's departure from the program, in favor of Butler, seeing his role in the lineup shrinking with the rise of Sophomore Yuta Watanabe. 

The 2015-16 season will feature the most televised games in program history (17), including three straight on ESPN networks, and the prime time slot in the ESPN 24-hour basketball marathon in November vs Virginia. 

The GW schedule is stacked: Virginia, USF, Nebraksa or Tenessee, Seaton Hall, Penn State, Rutgers, DePaul and UCF, and that's all before running the gauntlet of the Atlantic 10 conference schedule. 

And now for a game-by-game preview:

GW vs Gannon: November 7
GW had always done well in exhibition games and I see no reason why this should be different. It will give everyone a chance to see what the rotation will look like, and for the newbies to get the feel of GW basketball.
Score: W, 97-63

GW vs Lafayette: November 13
A traditional Patriot League power who upset Duke in the first round of the NCAA tournament a few years ago. This should be a good test before facing Virginia three days later. If GW overlooks Lafayette, we could easily lose, but we could also beat this team by 20.
Score: W, 72-65

GW vs Virginia: November 16 (ESPN2)
As far as I can remember, the last time GW faced a top-10 team in the Smith Center was 1995, when GW knocked off #1 UMass 78-75 (to President Bill Clinton's approval). In order to knock off Virginia, the Colonials are going to need all that luck and then some. This is probably the hardest game to predict: UVA could win by 20, or GW could win by 10. Sitting in the 2nd row at John Paul Jones arena last year, I felt that the home court advantage gave the Caviliers that little extra; an advantage that is now in the hands of of the Colonials. I gotta be an optimist here:
Score: W, 56-51 

GW at USF: November 19
While I think GW is more than capable of handling USF, I fear a post-UVA let down will hand the Colonials their first loss of the season.
Score: L, 67-59

GW vs Army: November 22
I could see an up-and-coming Army West Point team giving GW a run for their money, but a key bounce-back game will give GW a boost.  
Score: W, 60-49

GW vs Gardner-Webb: November 24
GW should be able to take care of business today, an have one a 30 point games from somebody: most likely Yuta or Joe McDonald. 
Score: W, 84-41

GW vs Seaton Hall: December 2
Another game that could go either way, but the Colonials proved that they could play with this team last year. But Revenge may not be achieved, if we hit one of our patented "tough December loss to a high RPI team" patches.
Score: L, 72-64

GW vs Penn State: December 8
Another team that GW lost to last year, but the Nittney Lions will be improved from last year. I could see this being a defining game of the first two months of the season. Win, and we start rolling. Lose, and we start snowballing.
Score: W, 58-51

GW vs Rutgers: December 12 (CBSSN)
One of the best performances from last season was a victory over the Scarlet Knights on the road, and I look for GW to pounce on Rutgers again.
Score: W, 74-59

GW vs Saint Peters: December 19
The last home game of the calendar year should be an easy one, as GW should easily coast to victory.
Score: W, 93-62

GW at DePaul: December 22
While GW best the Blue Deamons last year in DC, this game feels like the type of game we usually lose in the last few minutes, and leaves everyone feeling uneasy about our direction. 
Score: L, 67-54

GW at UCF: December 29
Let's just call this Yuta's coming out party: I firmly believe this is the game that GW will hit their stride, and Yuta will hit 4-5 threes, as our outside game will be keys vs a much taller UCF team.
Score: W, 83-71

GW vs Fordham: January 3 (NBCSN)
I look for GW to continue their hot streak after a big momentum bundling win at UCF. I also look for the Colonials' to continue their recent success over the Rams, and gets their first Atlantic 10 win of the season. 
Score: W, 64-49

GW at Saint Louis: January 6
The Bilikins, much like GW are a team of much potential, but could also end up with a disappointing NIT birth. I expect a closely contested game, and possibly OT. Ultimately, my gut says stick with my guys. 
Score: W, 78-74 (OT)

GW vs Duquesne: January 9
I expect GW to continue rolling as they return to the Smith Center, as they pick up their 3rd A10 win in as many tries.
Score: W, 63-56

GW at UMass: January 12
GW has traditionally struggled in Amherst, and I have a bad feeling about this game in general: especially with Dayton looming on the horizon. 
Score: L, 87-72

GW at Dayton: January 15 (ESPN2)
While the Flyers will be looking for revenge for the upset at the Smith Center last year, I can't help but feel confiedent about this game. 
Score: W, 77-73

GW vs URI: January 22 (ESPN2)
GW owes the Rams a debt of gratitude for beating us twice down the stretch of the season, the first time sent the Colonials into an unrecoverable tail spin. I expect GW to jump out to a large, early lead and never surrender it. 
Score: W, 84-69

GW vs Richmond: January 28 (ESPNU)
Despite the slew positive momentum, i expect the Spiders to collect a win they'll desperately be needing at this point of the season. 
Score: L, 76-74 (OT)

GW at GMU: January 31 (NBCSN)
After a close loss to Richmond, I expect the Colonials to get right back on the horse, and deliver their usual punishment to the Patriots.
Score: W, 83-67

GW vs Davidson: February 3
GW will be looking to beat Davidson for the first time as an A10 opponent, and I expect a big performance from Yuta again today, hitting 6-7 threes. The only potential issue could be looking ahead to VCU. 
Score: W, 76-63

GW at VCU: February 6 (CBSSN)
GW has not won a game in Richmond since the Rams joined the A10, but this could be the year the Colonials get over the hump. VCU could be not as dangerous as recent years, with the departure of "Havoc" mastermind Shaka Smart. Even so, no game vs VCU is ever easy.
Score: W, 77-69

GW vs St. Joes: February 10
GW could run into a bit of trouble against the Hawks, who could spoil the Colonials' winning streak. 
Score: L, 59-55

GW at St. Bonnaventure: February 13
After a bump in the road, the Colonials will get back to winning ways with an easy win over the Bonnies.
Score: W, 75-64

GW at Duquesne: February 17
GW will win their 4th-out-of-5 games when they travel to Pittsburgh against the Dukes. 
Score: W, 79-70

GW vs La Salle: February 21 (NBCSN)
The Colonials also have a bone to pick with the Explorers, who defeated GW last year in Philly, and GW will be looking for revenge. 
Score: W, 67-54

GW at Richmond: February 24
The Colonials will get caught looking ahead to a date with VCU, and might just overlook the Spiders. 
Score: L, 72-54

GW vs VCU: Fevruary 27 (NBCSN)
The Rams will look for revenge for an earlier season loss, and will give the Colonials a run for their money. This game will decide the fate of the season, and the dierection of the team.
Score: W, 93-88 (OT)

GW vs GMU: March 1   
The Colonials will finish out their home campaign with a blowout win over Mason, and clinch the Revolutionary Rivalry trophy-again. Seniors Joe McDonald, Kevin Larson & Patricio Garino look to go out with a bang. 
Score: W, 68-52

GW at Davidson: March 5 (NBCSN)
GW will complete the season sweep of the Wildcats, and rolling to A10 tournament with a top-four seed and a bye to the second round. 
Score: W, 88-80

So there you have it. I have GW finishing 23-7 (14-4). This team has the potential to make the Final Four or the NIT. The 2015-16 George Washington Colonials could go down as one of the best teams in the programs' 101 year history. Here's to a great season! 

Monday, May 11, 2015

Women's 2014-15 Season In Review

As a season ticket holder for GW Women's Basketball for the past 16 seasons, I've seen a lot of good teams pass through the Smith Center. I remember the back-to-back Sweet 16 appearances in the 2007 & 2008 NCAA Tournament. Who could forget Sarah-Jo Lawrence's last second shot to beat Cal 55-53. As an eight year-old yelling his lungs out at the TV, glad he got to stay up late to watch his Colonials in the Tournament. Yet- as specials as those teams were, this season felt just a little bit sweeter.

True, this year's team didn't make as far as the 2008 team did, so maybe its because I'm really old enough to appreciate it all now. But the undeniably special feel of this season is a feeling I can't quite shake off. The three days in Richmond, with three thrilling victories, ending with the team cutting down the nets, was a special experience that I had yet to witness live, and were without question, the most fun days as a GW sports fan.

Yes, not even the 2005-06 Men's Basketball team's incredible ride that season could top the feeling I had standing on the floor of the Richmond Coliseum, watching the girls take pictures with the A10 Championship trophy with their families, some overcome with various emotions. The sheer joy and excitement of Bria Bourgeois hugging everyone in sight, including me, and Coach Richardson high-fiving anyone with a free hand cannot be matched or replicated.

Because this team did the seemingly impossible from the start of the season: overshadow the Men's team and their season with their own story, that they wrote every single day on the court. Despite the fact that GW was picked second in the pre-season A10 poll, I couldn't quite figure out how well I expected this team to do. The previous 5 seasons hadn't seen a NCAA Tournament birth, and produced teams with talent, but missing that little extra to put it over the top.

This team did all that and then some. racking up a school-record 29 wins, 15-1 record in the A10, and only one loss to a team that did not make the NCAA Tournament (Saint Louis). After an opening night road loss at Florida Gulf Coast, and a close loss to Final Four-bound Maryland, GW set the world on fire, with a 19 game winning streak, including a road win at Dayton, ending the nation's longest home winning streak.

In total, GW racked up three wins over Elite Eight-bound Dayton, A10 Regular Season Championship, A10 Tournament Championship, A10 Player of the Year (Jonquel Jones), A10 Coach of the Year (Coach Tsipis) and an NCAA Tournament birth for the first time since 2008.

Perhaps the most astonishing thing of all is that GW only graduates two key-role player (Chakecia Miller and Lauren Chase) and brings in a recruiting class filled with promise, and a core group of 5-6 players, any of which can take over a game at anytime. The future is bright in Foggy Bottom for GW Women's Basketball, and I look forward to next season!
Thank you for reading my 2014-15 Women's Basketball Season in Review! I'll be writing my season predictions for both Men and Women once the schedule comes out!
I would like to thank the entire Team, Staff, and everyone else who was a part of this amazing season! Let's make next year even more special!
Go GDub! #RaiseHigh

Monday, April 6, 2015

Men's 2014-15 Season In Review

The 2014-15 George Washington Men's basketball season might not go down as the best season in the Colonials' 101 year history, but deserves a place in the top 10 for sure. While GW didn't live up to the expectations of the previous season's 24-9 team, this season was not without its highlights.

The Colonials campaign began with a 92-40 rout of Grambling State at the Smith Center on November 14th. The victory was the largest since a 109-57 beat down of Duquesne in 1999. The game was capped off by a pre-game unveiling of the 2014 NCAA Tournament banner that sent the Smith Center into a frenzy. Yuta Watanabe, in the first game of his collegiate career, had 8 points and grabbed 7 boards, quickly becoming a fan-favorite.

From there, the Colonials went on the road for a meeting at Rutgers in the first of 30+ televised games over the course of the season. In a closely contested game- a road game at that- GW showed poise and experience beyond their years and were able to pull out a win in a game that they would've lost in years past. Kethan Savage and Joe McDonald combined for 33 points and 20 rebounds to propel GW to a 70-53 victory.

Next up was a date with then #9 ranked Virginia at John Paul Jones Arena. I was fortunate to be able to attend the game, and GW did not disappoint. In fact, they took a 26-22 lead into halftime in front of a rocking crowd and a student section that would rival any in the country. And looking at the first half of the game, GW played UVA as well as any team in the country this season. The highlight of the game was arguably John Kopriva's huge crowd-silencing three early on when the teams were trading points. Though a patented "second half slump" sealed the Colonials's fate (UVA ultimately pulled away to a 59-42 win), I took pride in knowing we gave a top 10 team a heck of a game on the road.

GW bounced back with a 91-66 victory over Longwood to improve to 3-1 leading up to a Saturday afternoon showdown at Seaton Hall. Leading in to the game, I remember thinking: Here's a game we're gonna look back at on Selection Sunday if our name isn't called. GW played arguably one of its sloppiest half's of the season, committing an eye-opening 12 first half turnovers. Despite the early struggles, GW was very much in it at the half, down by only two, 25-23. A close second half ensued, and the game came down to the final few possessions. Kethan Savage had two opportunities to either tie or take the lead in the final two minutes, though both came up empty due to a controversial charge and traveling calls. Seaton Hall pulled the out, 58-54, though it left a taste in my mouth of a game I desperately wanted back.

The Colonials responded with an 83-60 beat down of UMBC at the Smith Center leading into the now-infamous BB&T Classic. As many Colonials fans will remember, Georgetown was "hosting" this years tournament. This meant playing on their court and sitting behind Georgetown's obnoxiously large banners that the Colonials faithful were stuck behind. Despite the less-than-perfect seating arrangements, GW put on one of its best performances of the season, with four different scorers in double-figures, pulling out a 78-70 win in the primetime-nightcap of the BB&T Classic. Its worth noting Byron Kerr's observation in an interview on the Hail to the Buff Podcast that Mo Creek singlehandedly changed the BB&T Classic, because when GW beat Maryland, people began to realize that GW was the best team around DC.

Next up, GW put up an impressive performance vs DePaul with an 81-68 win at home. The next game was in State College against Penn State. Looking back on that game, it was a little foreshadowing up GW's late season free fall from a NCAA lock to a 5-seed in the NIT. GW came out flat, dealt with foul trouble, and ultimately was embarrassed 64-51, though the loss felt greater than the score showed. To Coach Lonergan's credit, he pick the guys up and led them into an unforgettable 4-day trip to Hawai'i.

In the first game of the Diamond Head Classic, GW flexed its muscles with a 77-49 win over Ohio, capped off by Kethan Savage's SportsCenter Top-10 ThunderJam. GW carried the momentum into a 53-50 win over Colorado. Kevin Larson had one of the highlights of the season with an enormous last-second block to clinch the game for the Colonials, and earn them a spot in the Finals.

In the Finals of the Diamond Head Classic, GW faced Sweet 16-bound, then #11 ranked Wichita State Shockers. Yuta Watanabe came up clutch with 10 points off the bench. The Colonials battled with Wichita State early, and entered halftime tied 28-28. The Shockers looked like they had the game in hand, aided by a 17-8 run to lead 48-40 with 7:45 to play. But Watanabe hit a HUGE three, sparking a GW rally to take a 54-52 lead with 3:33 remaining. GW held on for a 60-54 victory to win the Diamond Head Classic. Kevin Larsin was named tournament MVP, and it was then established that Mike Lonergan must to the hula before every game (not really). Even more impressive than Coach Lonergan's dancing skills was the GW defensive: holding Wichita State to only one scorer in double figures.

GW extended the winning to 6 games with wins over VMI, Saint Joseph's and Saint Louis. Next up was at La Salle. Looking back on that game, it looked like a classic mid-season road game that GW usually looses. Still, it looked like an isolated incident, as La Salle hit an uncharacteristic amount of threes and free throws. 

GW got back on the horse with a 2OT win over Richmond back in Foggy Bottom. Colonials fans will infamously remember this as the game Kendall Anthony was "fouled" in the act of shooting, which sent the Spiders' to the line, where the ultimately tied the game, and sent it into overtime. GW was able to pull out the 73-70 win in the first ESPN network game televised at the Smith Center since 2007.

The Colonials' seemed to hit their mid-season stride with a 63-53 victory at George Mason and a 79-59 win at Fordham. GW returned home with an impressive 74-59 win over Duquesne, hitting a blazing 12 threes, including 9 in the first half. 

Next up was a date on the road against VCU, a team GW has historically struggled against, especially on the road. While at the time, it could be looked at that VCU simply needed the game more, by the end of the season it was clear that was not the case. GW looked rattled, hesitant, and ultimately scared that night in Richmond. They easily succumbed to VCU's "Havoc" defense, and it came as a shock to most Colonials' fans.

GW skidded into Rhode Island the following game, and was still nearly able to steal a game away from the Rams, but missed opportunities and a reoccurrence of the previous game's woes ultimately put the game out of reach.

The win over Dayton the following Friday was one of the most fun games I've been to in 16 seasons at GW. The team looked refocused, reenergized, and flat out confident against a NCAA-bound Dayton Flyers team. A late three in OT looked to have GW buried, but a last-second Joe McDonald put-back sealed the win, as the Colonial Army, and myself, stormed the court for all the nation to see (as the only ESPN game that night). I remember thinking, while jumping around the Smith Center floor, that we had righted the ship, and were back on course for the NCAA Tournament.

The loss at Duquesne was, quite frankly, shocking. I wasn't able to watch the game, but when I checked the score after the game, I did a double take, sure that I had read the score wrong. Because surely we hadn't lost to Duquesne 78-62. I couldn't believe how a team GW had demolished only 2 weeks prior and returned the favor, and ultimately send GW into an unrecoverable free-fall.
GW lost four straight, including the loss at Duquesne: a disappointing 79-66 loss vs VCU, a frustrating 65-63 loss at Davidson, and finally 56-48 at Richmond.
GW finally halted the skid, if only temporarily, with a 69-46 blowout over St. Bonaventure, but it was too late. Too many bad losses and disappointing showings, and the wheels had fallen off the bus all the way back in Pittsburgh.

GW flamed out again at Davidson, 77-66, in a disappointing first trip to Davidson, NC as an A10 opponent. The Colonials' ended their regular season with a 67-51 win at George Mason and a 87-65 win over UMass on Senior Night.
Headed into the Atlantic 10 Tournament, I couldn't shake the feeling that we had as good a chance as any team to win the whole tournament. GW flashed back to December with a 73-55 first round win over Duquesne, to secure a birth in the second round. GW battled against URI, ultimately giving everything they had, before the gas tank hit empty, and the Rams pulled away to a 71-58 win. As proud as I was of GW and the effort they showed in Brooklyn, part of me wish to just close the door on the season.

On Selection Sunday, GW was selected as a 5-seed in the NIT, where they were to face Pitt in the first round. Kethan Savage was on another level that night, and propelled GW to a 60-54 win over the ACC-member Panthers.

The Colonials' season came to an end with a 90-77 loss to former-A10 rival Temple in the second round. Ultimately, Temple had something to prove, and GW ran out of gas. While they battled to the bitter end, it was one of those games where every bounce went to Temple, and GW couldn't hit a shot. The Colonials' finished the season 22-13 (10-8).

So the 2014-15 George Washington Colonials will be remembered as the season of what could have been. A team that took down Wichita State, but couldn't beat Duquesne on the road. While it is easy to get caught up in negativity, GW racked up wins over the Big Ten (Rutgers), Big East (DePaul), Pac 12 (Colorado) and ACC (Pitt). For the core of the team, it was a leaning experience, and I believe will ultimately help them next season. Mike Lonergan is the right man in Foggy Bottom, and dispite the losses of John Kopriva, Kethan Savage and Nick Griffin, the 2015-16 George Washington Colonials have the potential to make a run to the Sweet 16- or farther. As did this team.
The line between success and failure is a lot thinner than most people realize. and as a winning streak defined last season, a 4-game loosing steak defined this one.

In conclusion, I applaud this season, while disappointing, but produced many memorable moments, and the program's first NIT win. The future is bright in Foggy Bottom, and I look forward to the bright future of this program!
Thanks for reading my 2014-15 Men's season in review! I'll have a Women's season in review within the next few weeks, and I'll also preview the upcoming season as the schedules are released.
Let's Go GDUB! #RaiseHigh