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Patricio Garino, Kevin Larsen and Joe McDonald celebrate in GW's win in the A-10 quarterfinals | Hatchet File Photo

Patricio Garino, Kevin Larsen and Joe McDonald celebrate during GW’s win in the A-10 quarterfinals last season. | Hatchet File Photo

D.C. will host the Atlantic 10 men’s basketball championship for the first time in 2018 at the Verizon Center, the league announced Thursday.

GW Athletic Director Patrick Nero said picking the Verizon Center, a venue just minutes away from campus, is yet another nod to the University’s budding men’s basketball program.

“As we went through this process, that was always in the back of the mind of a little bit of a home-court advantage, but also the progress that we’ve made in our men’s basketball program,” Nero said. “So now for the opportunity to have this tournament in our backyard, we see it as great recognition of this community and how we support college basketball and a reward for our fans.”

The A-10 also announced Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh will host the 2017 basketball championship.

The picks come after nine competitive bids for the two tournament destinations were submmitted, A-10 commissioner Bernadette McGlade said.

“On behalf of the A-10, I and all of our members really look forward to working with and competing in each of these really great venues and outstanding cities for 2017 and ’18,” McGlade said in a teleconference.

The Pittsburgh- and D.C.-based tournaments will be a shift away from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., which has hosted the A-10 tournament since 2013. In late March, the A-10, the Atlantic Coast Conference and Barclays Center agreed to allow the ACC to play its conference tournament at the venue to cap off the 2017 and 2018 seasons.

The A-10 Championship will return to Barclays Center in 2019, 2020 and 2021.

Also part of the agreement is a scheduling partnership between the ACC and A-10 to play inter-conference doubleheaders at Barclays Center in 2015, 2016 and 2017. The A-10 secured a position for team participation in Barclays Center’s annual Brooklyn Hoops holiday tournament.

If GW makes it to the A-10 championship in 2018, it won’t be the Colonials’ first game on the Verizon Center court. GW plays an annual regular-season game at the venue for the BB&T Classic, and this year will square off against Charlotte on Dec. 7.

For men’s basketball head coach Mike Lonergan, a native of Bowie, Md., Thursday’s announcement hits close to home, and he hopes the one-year move to the Verizon Center will aid his local recruiting efforts.

“Having grown up locally, I have great memories of watching basketball games at the many venues around the city and in the area,” said Lonergan, who is heading into his fourth season as the Colonials’ head coach. “To have this opportunity to compete for a championship at Verizon Center in front of our loyal fan base, family and friends will be very special for me.”

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Head coach Mike Lonergan talks to the men's basketball team during the A-10 Tournament last season. Hatchet File Photo

Head coach Mike Lonergan talks to the men’s basketball team during the A-10 Tournament last season. Hatchet File Photo

The men’s basketball team released the final five games of its non-conference schedule Tuesday, announcing matchups against Grambling State, Longwood, University of Maryland Baltimore County, Charlotte and the Virginia Military Institute, all to be played at the Smith Center.

The Colonials will play 13 non-conference games between Nov. 8 and Dec. 30, including the first games of five home-and-home series against teams from the ACC, Big Ten and Big East. GW will play 31 games total during the 2014-15 regular season.

The full schedule has yet to be revealed, but the Colonials have now announced the entire list of opponents after the A-10 pairings were released in May.

GW could see as many as 15 postseason teams throughout the regular season, depending on the results of the Diamond Head Classic. As many as seven of those potential opponents could come from outside A-10 play.

One of the toughest tests of the season for the Colonials will likely come Nov. 21 against ACC Champion Virginia. The game is the first of a home-and-home agreement between the two schools, and could prove a boost to the Colonials strength-of-schedule if they can hold their own against the 2014 Sweet 16 team.

The matchup against Virginia is one of 10 games against opponents from Maryland or Virginia, and one of four in the non-conference slate along with Longwood on Nov. 26, UMBC on Dec. 4 and VMI on Dec. 30 in the non-conference closer.

The Colonials will also stay close to home at the Verizon Center in the BB&T Classic on Dec. 7, when they will take on Charlotte as part of the double header also featuring a game between Georgetown and Towson.

Then-sophomore guard Joe McDonald drives toward the basket against Radford last season. Hatchet File Photo by Delaney Walsh | Photo Editor

Then-sophomore guard Joe McDonald drives toward the basket against Radford last season. Hatchet File Photo by Delaney Walsh | Photo Editor

Outside the D.C. area, the team will head to Hawaii for the Diamond Head Classic from Dec. 22 to 25.

The eight-team tournament field includes Colorado, Nebraska, Ohio and Wichita State, a team that, along with GW, finished the 2013-14 season ranked in the RPI Top 100 and played in the postseason. Host Hawaii, Loyola Marymount and Big East quarterfinalist DePaul, which the Colonials will host at the Smith Center on Dec. 11, round out the field.

The Colonials will see another Big East team in Seton Hall on the road Nov. 29. The Pirates finished last season an even 17-17 with a 10-8 home record, and will return four of their top seven scorers from 2013-14.

More power conference matchups come with two away games against Big Ten teams in Rutgers on Nov. 16 and Penn State on Dec. 14.

The Scarlet Knights will return three starters from last season’s team, which lost to the Colonials 93-87 at the Smith Center last season. The Nittany Lions ended the 2013-14 season in the quarterfinals of the College Basketball Invitational after sweeping powerhouse Ohio State during the regular season.

GW will unofficially begin the season at home with an exhibition game against Bloomsburg (Division II). The Colonials were unforgiving hosts last season with a 15-1 home record, but Huskies head coach John Sanow will have at least one friendly face in The Smith Center: head coach Mike Lonergan, whom he assisted when Lonergan was head coach at Vermont.

The season will open officially six days later when the Colonials host Grambling State on Nov. 14.

GW’s non-conference schedule is listed below:

11/8/2014 vs. Bloomsburg (Exhibition)

11/14/2014 vs. Grambling State

11/16/2014 at Rutgers

11/21/2014 at Virginia

11/26/2014 vs. Longwood

11/29/2014 at Seton Hall

12/4/2014 vs. UMBC

12/7/2014 vs. Charlotte (BB&T Classic)

12/11/2014 vs. DePaul

12/14/2014 at Penn State

12/22-25/2014 Diamond Head Classic

12/30/2014 – VMI

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After ending last season with an 11-5 record at home, women's basketball head coach Jonathan Tsipis will look to take his team far into the NCAA tournament this year. Hatchet File Photo

After ending last season with an 11-5 record at home, women’s basketball head coach Jonathan Tsipis will look to take his team far into the NCAA tournament this year. Hatchet File Photo

The women’s basketball team will host last year’s regular season champion and NCAA Tournament participant Dayton, Atlantic 10 champion Fordham, Saint Joseph’s and conference newcomer Davidson as part of its eight-game home matchups and 16-game A-10 Conference schedule.

The Colonials will also host Duquesne, George Mason, Richmond and St. Bonaventure, the league announced Monday. GW ended last season with an impressive 15-3 at home.

On the road, the team will face Dayton, George Mason, Richmond, La Salle, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Saint Louis and Women’s National Invitation Tournament participant VCU. The Colonials finished at .500 on the road last season, ending the year with a 6-6 record.

GW finished last season with a 23-11 overall record, a nine-win improvement from the 2012-13 season. The Colonials earned a bid to the WNIT and advanced to the third round, where they were knocked out by the University of South Florida. GW’s two postseason victories were its first since 2008.

With arguably the best recruiting class in the A-10, the Colonials are on track to carry last season’s success into the coming year.

The team will announce a full schedule at a later date.

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Drexel assistant coach Melissa Dunne will join the women’s basketball team as an assistant to head coach Jonathan Tsipis, the athletics department announced Wednesday.

Dunne will fill the vacancy left by associate head coach and recruiting coordinator Megan Duffy, who stepped down after two years at GW to join the coaching staff at the University of Michigan.

“As a coach, I have always been impressed by how she has developed guards, especially point guards,” Tsipis said about Dunne in a release. “The Drexel teams she was a part of were always very detail-oriented and scouted opponents precisely.”

Dunne knows the Atlantic 10 league well from her four years as a point guard at Temple, where she earned an A-10 title as team captain in 2002. A point guard, Dunne was named the team’s most improved player in 1999.

“Coach Tsipis is a proven leader and I am committed to contributing to make GW not only the best team in the Atlantic 10 Conference but also among the best in the country,” Dunne said in the release.

While earning her master’s degree in public communication at Drexel, she joined the team’s staff as a graduate assistant coach in 2006. Dunne left for an assistant coaching job at Rhode Island for the 2006-07 season, and after a year with the Rams, she returned to Drexel as a recruiting coordinator.

Since her return, the Dragons have built up a 140-88 record and made the postseason five times. They secured an automatic berth to the NCAA tournament in 2009 as the Colonial Athletic Association champions. During her first year back at Drexel, the team posted an 8.5-game improvement over the previous season.

As a recruiter, Dunne boasted a class that was ranked No. 8 on ESPN’s list of the Top 20 Mid-Major Recruiting Classes and 13 CAA All-Conference team members.

She’ll look to build on a 2014-15 class of Colonials ranked the best in the A-10. Last season, GW improved its record by nine games.

“As the recruiting coordinator at Drexel, she is well-respected by the [Amateur Athletic Union] and high school coaching community for her hard work and dedication,” Tsipis said.

The Brigantine, N.J. native will specialize in coaching the team’s guards, and Tspis said she has a particular flair for developing talent at the point. Dunne’s Drexel teams led the CAA in assist-to-turnover ratio during three separate years and have ranked among the NCAA’s top-35 in that category every year she has coached them.

Dunne will be tasked with developing newcomers Brianna Cummings, Mia Farmer and Camila Tapias, while working with returning guards like Chakecia Miller and Hannah Schaible to fill the holes left by star guards Danni Jackson and Megan Nipe.

Dunne is also a defensive specialist, with a record of guiding the Dragons to the top of the CAA in points allowed. She led them to eighth best in the NCAA at 51.4 points per game in 2012-13. The Colonials will value her expertise after leaning on a defense-first strategy in 2013-14, though they relied more heavily on their 76.1 points scored per game than their 68.9 points allowed.

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Maurice Creek and Isaiah Armwood exit the Smith Center court after the Colonials defeat St. Joseph's. Hatchet File Photo

Maurice Creek and Isaiah Armwood exit the Smith Center court after the Colonials defeated St. Joseph’s last season. Hatchet File Photo

After leading the men’s basketball team through one of its most successful seasons in nearly a decade, alumni Maurice Creek and Isaiah Armwood wore the same colors one more time this week – but they weren’t buff and blue.

Armwood and Creek, known during the season as the “Zeke and Creek show,” both worked out for the Washington Wizards on Tuesday as part of their bids to make an NBA roster.

Armwood played in the workout’s first session, while Creek played in the second.

“I wish he was on my team. I think we would have had a little advantage,“ Armwood said after the workout. “But we were on separate teams. It was definitely nice to get out there with him.”

Creek and Armwood played with a handful of familiar faces: Halil Kanacevic of Saint Joseph’s, Devin Oliver of Dayton and Chaz Williams of Massachusetts, who all showed up to Tuesday’s workout. Armwood has already worked out for the Miami Heat, Sacramento Kings and most recently the Denver Nuggets.

 “[The Wizards] like to run a lot, that’s what I like to do,” Armwood said. “I could be like that three or four guy that rebounds the ball and be a lockdown defender. I think I could fit in real well. “

The 6-foot-9 forward averaged 12.7 points and 8.7 rebounds per game last season, making him one of the most impactful big men in the GW program’s history. Armwood earned Second Team All-Conference and Atlantic 10 All-Defensive team honors at the end of the season.

Meanwhile Creek, selling himself as a solid shooter and defender, received a couple pointers this week from members of his team as well as last season’s NBA Most Valuable Player.

“I talked to my trainers, I talked to a couple of guys and Kevin Durant,” Creek said. “They were just like, ‘You shoot the ball very well. Be mental and mindful of that. Just do what you do, don’t be shy, be confident, go in there and just take everything in.’”

Creek left his mark last season from beyond the arc, where he made the second-most 3-point shots in program history. He averaged a team-high 14.1 points per game and earned Third Team All-Conference honors.

With the NBA draft just a day away, Creek and Armwood had opposite plans for draft day. While Creek intends to watch the draft and “take it in,” Armwood said he “might not even watch it.” Both players are not predicted to hear their names called Thursday.

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Head coach Mike Lonergan talks to his bench during the A-10 Tournament. Hatchet File Photo

Head coach Mike Lonergan talks to his bench during the A-10 Tournament. Hatchet File Photo

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Josh Solomon.

The Colonials will meet an old foe again in next year’s non-conference schedule.

Former Atlantic 10 rival and current Big Ten Conference member Penn State has agreed to a home-and-home series with GW over the next two seasons, head coach Mike Lonergan announced Monday. The Colonials will start the head-to-head series on the road at University Park on Dec. 14. GW will then host Penn State in the 2015-16 season.

The Nittany Lions are the latest to join the men’s basketball team’s increasingly high-profile list of non-conference opponents.

GW will face another member of the Big Ten in a home-and-home series, though officials have yet to announce the team. The Colonials are slated to face ACC champion Virginia on the road on Nov. 21 in the first game of a home-and-home and will travel in December to the 2014 Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic, which includes Colorado, Nebraska and Wichita State.

Athletic Director Patrick Nero said via Twitter that the full non-conference schedule will be announced soon.

Penn State went 16-18 last year but showed power at times, such as during both games of a season series sweep of Ohio State. The Nittany Lions saw their season end in the quarterfinals of the College Basketball Invitational against Siena.

The last time GW faced the Nittany Lions was 1991, in a 71-57 neutral-site non-conference game victory. The previous season, the Colonials fell to Penn State in the A-10 Championship game, 81-75. GW is 11-19 all time against the Nittany Lions.

Lonergan and Penn State head coach Patrick Chambers have also met before.

Lonergan repeatedly faced off against the former Boston University head coach during his six seasons at the helm in Vermont. In their final two seasons before moving to their current schools, Lonergan’s Catamounts swept all three games in the 2009-10 season, including the conference championship game.

Chambers’ Terriers came back and swept Vermont in the regular season, including a final game between the two head coaches – a 66-64 overtime thriller in favor of Boston University.

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Sophomore Joe McDonald struggles to get around a VCU defender in March. File Photo by Samuel Klein | Photo Editor

Then-sophomore Joe McDonald struggles to get around a VCU defender in March. File Photo by Samuel Klein | Photo Editor

The Colonials have leapt forward in early predictions polls after their breakout 2013-14 season, climbing the ranks by up to seven slots.

A pair of early Atlantic 10 prediction polls both picked GW to finish in the top five in the conference in 2014, a major improvement after GW was picked to finish 13th in the 2012 preseason coaches poll and 10th last season.

CBS Sports college basketball writer Matt Norlander released his “early guess at the top five in the league” on Monday. Norlander anticipated that GW would finish fifth in the conference behind Saint Joseph’s, Richmond, Dayton and VCU.

After the Colonials earned their first bid to the NCAA tournament since 2007, Norlander warned readers that they should not overlook GW come November.

“Expecting GW to slip back into generic mediocrity would be a mistake,” Norlander said.

SB Nation’s Mid-Major Madness predicted GW would finish third. Senior editor Parks Smith wrote that the Colonials will finish behind Massachusetts, which will come in second behind VCU.

Smith pegged conference newcomer Davidson to finish 12th. The Wildcats finished last season 20-13 overall and 15-1 in the Southern Conference.

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After concluding her final season with women’s rowing, alumna Sarah Pickus was named to the Atlantic 10 All-Academic team, the league announced Thursday.

Pickus received the same honor last season. She was also named to the A-10 All-Conference Second Team following GW’s fourth-place finish at the A-10 Championships earlier this month.

Pickus, who graduated May 18, finished her academic career with a 3.79 GPA. The biomedical engineering major appeared on the A-10 Commissioner’s Honor Roll five out of eight semesters and on the athletics department’s dean’s list four times.

Pickus helped the Colonials’ Varsity 8 boat win the 2013 A-10 Varsity 8 Championship, the George’s Cup and the Class of 1998 Cup during her time at the University.

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Wednesday, May 21, 2014 10:48 a.m.

Baseball earns four postseason awards

The Colonials celebrate a win earlier this season. Hatchet File Photo

The Colonials celebrate a win earlier this season. Hatchet File Photo

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Josh Solomon.

After missing out on the Atlantic 10 playoffs, the baseball team received consolation from the conference in the form of four postseason awards.

Freshmen Bobby Campbell and Joey Bartosic were two of the 13 rookies selected for the A-10 All-Rookie team, while seniors Colin Milon and Owen Beightol were chosen for the A-10 All-Academic team.

Campbell started all 50 games for GW at third base, and repeatedly demonstrated stellar defense with deep range and a strong arm. He finished fourth on the roster with a .272 batting average and had seven doubles, 20 RBI and six stolen bases.

Used primarily as head coach Gregg Ritchie’s leadoff hitter, Bartosic started the season off hot, stringing together a 14-game hit streak that ranked third-longest in the conference. He finished the season with a .298 batting average, though he did not start or play every game of the season like Campbell. The outfielder also finished the year with 20 steals – tied for third-best in conference.

At the other end of the experience spectrum, the Colonials were grounded by the play of their senior core.

Beightol, the only senior bat in the lineup, steadied the Colonials with a team-high .337 batting average, tied with junior Ryan Xepoleas. Beightol finished the season with 65 hits, which ranked seventh in the A-10, as well as 14 doubles.

Beightol ended his career tied for second all-time with 213 games played. He was also third all-time with 797 at-bats and ninth all-time with 234 career hits.

After senior closer Craig LeJeune went down with a season-ending earlier this year, Milon stepped into the closer role almost seamlessly. He recorded six saves, which was tied for second-best in the conference, and finished with a team-best 2.94 ERA.

After a slow start to conference play with a rookie-heavy team, the Colonials will look to build off of this season’s 12-15 conference record. With freshmen Campbell and Bartosic returning and strong senior leadership from players like Xepoleas, GW will aim to have a turnaround season next winter.

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Patricio Garino, Kevin Larsen and Joe McDonald celebrate in GW's win in the A-10 quarterfinals. Samuel Klein | Photo Editor

Patricio Garino, Kevin Larsen and Joe McDonald celebrate GW’s win in the A-10 quarterfinals. Hatchet File Photo

The men’s basketball team will host last season’s Atlantic 10 conference heavyweights Virginia Commonwealth, Massachusetts, Saint Louis and Dayton next season as a part of its nine-game conference home schedule, the league announced Thursday.

Neither Saint Louis nor Dayton made appearances at the Smith Center last season.

GW will play nine home and nine away games in an expanded 18-conference game schedule for the 2014-15 season.

“To be the best, you have to play the best, and the Atlantic 10 is one of the premier leagues with some of the best teams in college basketball,” head coach Mike Lonergan said in a release

Lonergan, who came to GW three years go, coached the Colonials to a 14-1 home record last season. In addition to the predicted conference favorites, the Colonials will host A-10 newcomer Davidson along with George Mason, Richmond and Saint Bonaventure.

“Next year’s A-10 home schedule features high-profile opponents and rivalry games which will be attractive to our students, alumni and fans, and the entire league schedule will challenge and prepare our team for the A-10 Championship and a goal of another trip to the NCAA Tournament,” Lonergan said.

 GW, which finished last season with an away record of 6-5, will play road matchups at Rhode Island, La Salle, Saint Joseph’s, Davidson, Duquesne, George Mason, Richmond and VCU.

The official schedule, including dates and times, has not yet been released.

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