Your Guide to GW sports
WHO: GW (8-1) vs. Boston University (6-3)
WHERE: Smith Center
WHEN: Wednesday at 7 p.m.
Case for BU:
With the Colonials flying high after their dramatic win over Maryland in the BB&T Classic, the Terriers are hoping they can play spoiler and suck GW into a trap game.
To do so, BU needs continued strong play from its backcourt duo of Maurice Watson Jr. and D.J Irving. Through nine games thus far, Watson is ranked first in the Patriot League in assists, at 5.9 per game, and steals, at 2.4 per game, while also putting up a team-leading 14.8 points per game. Irving, one of the team’s three seniors, ranks third on the team at 11.6 points per game.
Although GW point guard Joe McDonald has been successful this season at taking care of the ball, if Watson can pressure him early and force some turnovers, it could cause problems for the Colonials offense.
The biggest offensive threat for BU, though, may be 6-foot-7 senior forward Dom Morris. Shooting an incredible 59.7 percent from the field, Morris averages 12.7 points per game, while also leading the Patriot league at 7.7 rebounds per game. A potential mismatch for the Colonials defense, look for Terriers head coach Joe Jones to get Morris the ball early and often.
The biggest problem for BU this season has likely been its defense, giving up a shooting percentage of 44.5 percent to opponents, while shooting just 44.1 percent themselves. Offensive efficiency will be a key for the Terriers to overcome their sloppy defense, as they are 4-0 on the season when shooting better than their opponents.
Having won four straight games before their weekend loss to Harvard, the Terriers will be giving their best effort to get back to their winning ways and spoil the Colonials’ hot start.
Case for GW:
Despite being a better and more complete team than last year’s Colonials squad, head coach Mike Lonergan may hope for some flashbacks from last year’s 72-59 defeat of the Terriers.
In that game, which gave GW its first win of the season, then-freshman guard McDonald came into his own, scoring a game-high 21 points to revive a team that had just lost its season opener. Also in just his second game as a Colonial, forward Isaiah Armwood dropped hints for his “Blockness Monster” nickname, protecting the paint with eight blocks and 12 rebounds.
A win for GW may come simply from similar performances by those two leaders. McDonald has greatly matured this season, turning the ball over 13 times, while recording 45 assists, good enough for an average of five assists per game. Armwood currently ranks second on the team with 14 points per game and first on the team in both rebounds (8.3 rpg) and blocks (24). Along with forward Kevin Larsen, the Colonials frontcourt will find themselves with a nice little size advantage in the paint and hope to tire out the BU big men early.
Additionally, the Colonials will look to add to the rebounding troubles that the Terriers have had all season. Through its nine games, BU has found itself out-rebounded 335-298, a margin GW hope increases after Wednesday’s matchup.
BU opponents are averaging 69.6 points per game, while shooting 36 percent from three – both very large numbers, but also numbers the Colonials offense already averages more than. Look for graduate student guard Maurice Creek, who leads the team at 16.3 points per game, to make use of his open looks from the outside and give BU another defensive problem.
The Colonials will be the Terriers third-straight opponent to enter their matchup with just one loss, a potential form of exhaustion for BU. Most recently, BU lost in an overtime heartbreaker to Harvard, 79-68, after overcoming a seven-point deficit in the last 44 seconds of regulation.
This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Josh Solomon.
Head coach Jonathan Tsipis runs a blitz defense. But like a defensive coordinator, he doesn’t typically like to talk about it, or tip it off, much.
At the beginning of this season, the women’s basketball team reprised the fast-paced, aggressive defense that Tsipis had introduced in his first year. The Colonials came out in a three-quarter press, often switching between a 1-3-1 and 2-2-1 alignment; But the head coach didn’t want to talk about it in detail – didn’t want to give away his game plan.
Coming into Monday night’s game against a grind-it-out, low-scoring Loyola team that predicates itself on ball movement, Tsipis decided to switch it up. He called for a full-court press, making use of his small and fast three-guard lineup.
After 24 turnovers and just seven assists – 11 of those turnovers coming from the Greyhounds’ point guards – resulting in a 56-50 GW (5-4) win at the Smith Center, Tsipis finally wanted to talk about defense.
He detailed his game plan, saying he wanted to wear down Loyola by limiting the Greyhounds to the amount of passing they could do. By running the full-court press, the Colonials could eat time off the shot clock before the Greyhounds got into their offense, shortening possession time and limiting time for good looks.
“We played all man tonight, but we tried to change our presses in a couple ways,” Tsipis said.
GW used the speed of their small lineup, featuring graduate students Danni Jackson and Megan Nipe along with defensive centerpiece, junior Chakecia Miller. Rotating in to keep the lineup quick were sophomores Alexis Chandler and Aaliyah Brown, and freshman Shannon Cranshaw.
“I challenged [Cha]Kecia, Danni and Alexis Chandler to really pressure. And when I look down at the stat line and see their point guards have one assist and 11 turnovers, I think they did a really good job with that,” Tsipis said.
Part of the reason the Colonials needed to execute this uptempo defense to match their usually high powered offense – averaging 89.8 points per win heading into the game – was because of a lack of frontcourt depth.
Three of the team’s forwards have been unable to suit up for GW over the last few games. 6-foot-2 graduate student Brooke Wilson is still sidelined with limited minutes due to injury, sophomore Anjaleace White – who led the freshmen in minutes last year – is still not fully active in practice as she nurses a hamstring injury and sophomore Jonquel Jones remains in street clothes during game day due to NCAA transfer rules.
Regardless of size, Tsipis likes his squad to play fast and force turnovers, causing teams to be off-balanced. Throughout the first nine games of the season, he has featured various press defenses, half-court zones and man-to-man looks, all to pressure the ball handler up the court and leave them constantly having to adjust.
“We’ve really been focusing on being active and making them feel uncomfortable when they have the ball. And the pressure on the ball results in steals for us off the ball,” said freshman Hannah Schaible who had seven points, 10 rebounds, three assists and three steals on the night.
In the first half alone against Loyola, the press resulted in one ten-second violation and 12 steals for the Colonials. If GW can continue to cause chaos for its opponents, and dive for every loose ball like Schaible does, the Colonials could find themselves with a perfect balance to their high-scoring offense.