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BB&T Classic

This post was written by Hatchet sports editors Sean Hurd and Nick Ong.

Who: GW (7-1) vs. Maryland (6-3)

Basketball, Isaiah Armwood, BB&T Classic

Then-junior forward Isaiah Armwood makes a layup against Manhattan at last year’s BB&T Classic. Hatchet File Photo

What: The 19th annual BB&T Classic
Where: Verizon Center
When: Sunday at 3:30 p.m.

GW and Maryland have a long history together. Sunday’s game will be the 68th meeting between the two teams and the first since a 76-53 Terrapins’ win in 2008. Maryland holds a 36-31 advantage in the matchup, but will be looking to increase that margin against a much stronger Colonials team than in past years.

Case for Maryland:

At the beginning of the season, not many would have expected the Colonials to be coming into Sunday’s game as the favorites – especially not the Terps.

Maryland, though, has had arguably an even tougher non-conference schedule than the Colonials, taking on two Top 20 opponents, including a 76-60 loss to No. 5 Ohio State most recently. A win over a now-imposing GW team could do great things for the Terps, as they prepare for the always strong Atlantic Coast Conference.

To do so, Maryland will need big games from its trio of double-digit scorers: Jake Layman (14.6 points per game), Evan Smotrycz (13.9 ppg) and Dez Wells (13.6 ppg). Forwards Layman and Smotrycz have struggled in the post this year, but have both been lights out from beyond the arc, shooting 46 and 44 percent, respectively.

If the Colonials defense is able to keep Maryland’s scorers in check, head coach Mark Turgeon has a deep bench that he can turn to for production. Seven Terps currently average over 18 minutes of playing time per game – a type of seven-man rotation that head coach Mike Lonergan is still trying to perfect with his squad.

Maryland ranks second in the ACC with 14.8 offensive rebounds per game and is out-rebounding opponents 40.4 to 32.1 on the season. Led by forward Charles Mitchell, who averages 7.3 rebounds per game, the Terps frontcourt will look to steal some boards away from forwards Kevin Larsen and Isaiah Armwood and take advantage of second-chance opportunities.

After taking a hard foul and injuring his hip at the end of GW’s game against Rutgers, point guard Joe McDonald is listed as day-to-day. Combine that with the still injured finger of forward Patricio Garino and the Colonials may find themselves with problems running the offense and matching up on defense.

Playing at a neutral site, Maryland – whose average attendance sits at 11,137 per home game – will look for some of its faithful fans to make the short journey into the District.

Case for GW:

After improving their season record to 7-1 Wednesday with a 93-87 victory over Rutgers, the Colonials are presented with yet another chance to pad their non-conference resume against a formidable opponent out of a major conference.

But a win against Maryland Sunday will not come unless GW is able to execute on both sides of the court, as it’s unlikely that the Colonials will be able to beat the Terrapins by simply outshooting them. With three Maryland players averaging double figures in scoring and two other Terrapins at nine points per game, it will be a strong defensive showing that is most likely going to be one of the deciding factors Sunday.

GW has shown that it has the ability to lock down defensively throughout the season, allowing opponents 67.2 points per game while ranking third in the Atlantic 10 in field goal defense, holding teams to just 39.8 percent from the field. Against the Terrapins, the Colonials will have to make sure they are guarding the perimeter to slow down the hot hands of Smotrycz and Layman.

If GW is unable to find success stopping the Terrapins, they do have another way to disrupt the Maryland offense, send them to the line. The Terrapins are shooting an abysmal 60.5 percent from the charity stripe. If the Colonials don’t find themselves in foul trouble down the stretch, head coach Mike Lonergan may tell his team to take a foul over allowing a bucket in certain situations.

That said, GW has not been much better from the line this season either, shooting just 69.3 percent themselves. It’s possible that the better free throw shooting team could find themselves with a late lead in Sunday’s game.

Over the course of the season, GW has proven to be the more efficient offensive team of the two, turning the ball over 11.8 times per game, compared to Maryland’s 13.8 turnovers per game. Additionally, the Colonials have shown success with moving the ball, leading the A-10 in assists per game at 15.9. The Terrapins on the other hand are averaging 12.9 assists the game.

GW enters Sunday’s matchup leading the A-10 in field goal percentage at 48.1 percent and three point percentage at 43.2 percent. The Colonials will need continued success from beyond the arc from graduate guard Maurice Creek, who shoots 45.7 percent from three, and senior guard Nemanja Mikic, who has come off the bench to shoot 48.6 percent. GW will be able to find open outside shots if they get the ball inside early to Armwood and Larsen, and get perimeter penetration from sophomore Kethan Savage.

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This post was written by contributing sports editor Sean Hurd

The men’s basketball team will get more television exposure than it ever has this year, as GW added 11 regional telecasts to its regular schedule Tuesday.

They will have a total of 22 televised games this season, the most airtime in program history.

The variety of television exposure ranges from regional telecasts through networks like Comcast Sportsnet Mid-Atlantic, NESN, Fox Sports Midwest and CSN Philadelphia thanks to the Atlantic 10’s new multimedia rights agreement that includes telecasts for half of the GW’s conference matches

The regional exposure combines with national exposure both from telecasts on NBC Sports Network, as well as the Colonials’ games in the Wooden Legacy tournament in November, which is scheduled to air on the ESPN networks.

Additionally, Mid-Atlantic Sports Network will televise the annual BB&T Classic on Dec. 8 when GW will square off against Maryland, as well as an anticipated rematch against Kansas State on Dec. 31.

2013-14 GW MEN’S BASKETBALL BROADCAST SCHEDULE

Local/Regional

12/4/13 vs. Rutgers – CSN & SNY

12/8/13 vs. Maryland – MASN

12/11/13 vs. Boston University – CSN, SNY & NESN

12/31/13 at Kansas State – MASN2 & Fox Sports Midwest

1/3/14 vs. Georgia – CSN+, SNY & CSS

1/29/14 vs. La Salle – CSN+, SNY

2/8/14 vs. Fordham – CSN, SNY

2/15/14 vs. Massachusetts – CSN, SNY

2/22/14 at Saint Louis – CSN+, SNY

3/5/14 vs. Saint Joseph’s – CSN+, SNY & CSN Philadelphia

3/8/14 at Fordham – CSN, SNY

National

11/28/13 vs. Miami (Fla.) – ESPNU

11/29/13 vs. Marquette/Cal State Fullerton – ESPN/ESPN2/ESPN3

12/1/13 vs. TBA – ESPN2/ESPNU/ESPN3

1/9/14 at La Salle – NBCSN

1/11/14 vs. Rhode Island – NBCSN

1/14/14 vs. VCU – CBSSN

1/25/14 at George Mason – NBCSN

2/1/14 at Dayton – NBCSN

2/12/14 at VCU – NBCSN

2/18/14 at Richmond – NBCSN

3/2/14 vs. George Mason – NBCSN

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Freshman guard Joe McDonald attempts a shot at Saturday’s game against Amherst. Hatchet File Photo by Elizabeth Traynor | Staff Photographer

The Colonials will face Maryland in the 2013 BB&T Classic, Alex Prewitt of The Washington Post reported yesterday. 

The Classic is an annual doubleheader basketball showcase, hosted by GW and the University of Maryland. Last season, the Terps went 17-15 overall, finishing eighth in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Maryland is 14-4 so far this season, including a victory over No. 14 NC State.

GW faced Manhattan during this year’s tournament, defeating it 67-55.

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VERIZON CENTER- GW’s most challenging opponent so far this season hasn’t been an opponent at all, but rather a combination of two aspects of play: the other team’s defense and the Colonials’ stagnant shooting.

It’s been a frustrating one-two punch that’s forced the team to battle to even remain in a game mentally. And Sunday, once again, an opponent came out in a full-court press against the Colonials, Manhattan trying to halt GW’s transition play with the approach that’s caused it to stumble of late.

Basketball, Isaiah Armwood, BB&T Classic

Senior forward Isaiah Armwood shoots a layup between the Manhattan defenders at the 18th annual BB&T Classic at the Verizon Center on Sunday afternoon. Jordan Emont | Photo Editor

This time, though, GW (4-3) showed that its best response to a tough press is with a challenging defense of its own, taking a 67-55 victory over Manhattan in the annual BB&T Classic.

“They’re going to press us and they’re going to zone us, with the way we shoot the ball. So we’ve just got to keep getting better in practice and we’ve got to keep working on our ball handlers,” Lonergan said.

The Colonials struggled to break through the press and establish a solid offensive presence Sunday. In the first half, the team had 12 turnovers, struggled to even get shots off and couldn’t get any second-chance points, a sign of limited production in the paint. In the second, the team turned it over 11 more times, ending the game with 23 total turnovers.

“We really wanted to get the ball inside and go inside-out. It was tough for us getting the ball over halfcourt, obviously,” Lonergan said. “But we were just trying to get touches in the middle of the court with our big guys.”

Contributing to the challenges in the first were GW’s familiar shooting struggles. The team went through stages of stagnant shooting in the first, finding itself in an early five-point hole before roaring back to tie four times. The Colonials took the lead off the strength of two treys late in the first, only to have its momentum sapped when the Jaspers tied it up at the buzzer off of back-to-back threes of their own.

“We just went into the locker room and tried to focus on executing and really playing like we normally do,” senior guard Lasan Kromah said. “We came back in the second half and got our composure and tried to make a run.”

The offense ran into more trouble early in the second half, when freshman point guard Joe McDonald was forced to sit with foul trouble just two minutes into the half. The duty of running the offense fell to senior guard Bryan Bynes and freshman guard Kethan Savage, both of whom are more comfortable at the two slot. A short time later, Savage fouled out.

Bynes, despite being 0-for-5, was able to take over, running the offense for large portions of the second half without a turnover.

“He missed easy shots, but at least he gave us some pretty good ball handling and defense. Joe had major foul trouble and was just out of it today, so I thought it was key that Bryan came in and kept his composure,” Lonergan said.

But the Colonials were able to hang on for the victory, closing the game with a 44.4 shooting percentage and dishing out roughly the same amount of assists on the second as on the first. GW pulled away down the stretch, mainly off the strength of its free throw shooting, which was 82.8 percent on the day.

“Tonight, we were great from the line,” Lonergan said. “To finish the game 24 for 29, free throws are so huge and we made them at BU. Like in all areas of the game, we just have to get more consistent.”

Senior forward Isaiah Armwood was a force in the paint for GW, adding 23 points, nine boards and six blocks. The offense ran through Armwood Sunday afternoon, a sign of his dominance in the paint. Freshman forward Kevin Larsen joined Armwood in the post, adding eight points and seven boards.

His performance was supplemented by Kromah, who had 18 points and four boards and forward Patricio Garino, who had 10 points. Garino drew praise from Lonergan after the game, who said the freshman had a lower ankle injury over the last two weeks and is back to full strength after needing some rest. The team’s production is slowly building off of each other, Lonergan added.

“[Kromah’s] been great. That was four games in a row he shot 50 percent or better from the field. Last year, that wasn’t the case. I’m happy for him, he’s focused on defense, and I think a lot of that is having Patricio and Joe and even Kethan push him for minutes,” Lonergan said. “He’s really responded.”

The Colonials stayed in the game largely based off of their defense, holding Manhattan scoreless for long stretches at a time. GW’s heavy-pressure man-to-man and 1-3-1 defenses slowed the Jaspers’ flow, leaving them unable to execute on the offensive, and the Colonials held Manhattan to just 25 percent shooting on the second. A key was Garino, Lonergan said, who guarded Manhattan’s often-explosive senior guard George Beamon and held him to 3-for-13 shooting.

Overall, the Jaspers shot 33.9 percent on the day. GW’s defense was the true key to the game, adding seven blocks and seven steals, and outrebounding Manhattan 41-27. The discrepancy of the battle on the boards was particularly evident on the defensive, the Colonials pulling down 30 in that category alone.

“The board were even at halftime, it was pretty disappointing,” Lonergan said. “I just said ‘everybody’s got to get in there and rebound.’ I thought our guards helped and Isaiah really controlled the game, and Kevin, with our size.”

The victory pulled GW ahead of a .500 record, a valuable win, Lonergan said, as the team continues through nonconference play and heads into league action.

 

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Junior Nemanja Mikic keeps the ball away from a BU defender before passing it along in the first. Hatchet File Photo by Elizabeth Traynor | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Want to head to the Verizon Center to see the men’s basketball team take on Manhattan in the upcoming BB&T Classic? You can buy a ticket – or pick up one of the 250 student tickets the University will distribute, for free, starting today.

In an infomail sent out this evening, the University announced that it will give away tickets to the annual game from Nov. 19 to Nov. 20 or Nov. 26 to Nov. 30 in the Smith Center box office, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The 250 tickets are first come, first serve, and there is a limit of two per student. They’re valid for both the GW game at 12:15 p.m. and the Maryland v. George Mason game at 2:30 p.m.

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Head men's basketball coach Mike Lonergan, left, spoke about the team's challenging non-conference schedule at the BB&T Classic media day Thursday. | Media credit: Jordan Emont

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Cory Weinberg.

With formal practices just over a week away, men’s basketball head coach Mike Lonergan said Thursday that his players and coaches are knee deep in their transition.

Lonergan spoke to reporters at the media day for the BB&T Classic, a charity basketball doubleheader that will pit GW against Virginia Commonwealth December 4. The first-year head coach said he and his cast of five new coaches are learning the strengths and weaknesses of a Colonials team that will face early tests.

“That transition has been tough. We have a new coaching staff, new plays and we’re familiarizing ourselves with the players and the system,” Lonergan said. “It’s going to take some time. We’ll be a much better team in January than we will earlier in the season.”

In facing last year’s NCAA Cinderella story in VCU, who advanced to the Final Four last year, Lonergan anticipates a tough match-up, but one that he will wait to scout.

“We haven’t really thought about opponents yet. I know VCU had a great year and the coach did a great job, but I haven’t watched any film on them,” Lonergan said.

Athletic director Patrick Nero, who is also in his first year, trumpeted the match-up as important for the team’s national exposure and fan spirit. The 17th annual BB&T Classic, which will fundraise for the Children’s Charities Foundation, will also feature a game between powerhouses Notre Dame and University of Maryland.

“It’s like playing a postseason game in the middle of the year,” Nero said. “It’s an exciting day. It’s not like every other game.”

The Colonials will play the second-toughest non-conference schedule in the Atlantic 10, an ESPN.com article said Wednesday. GW will go on the road in November and December to face California, Kansas State and Syracuse.

Lonergan admitted the schedule will allow little breathing room for his team, but said facing tough opponents will boost the team’s RPI, a metric used by the NCAA selection committee that adjusts rankings based on teams’ strength of schedule.

“I think our players are really excited by [the schedule]. They won a pretty good amount of games last year, but their RPI was really low because their opponents’ RPI’s were low,” Lonergan said. “I think that’s sort of reflected now where we’re being picked in these preseason polls because we have four starters back but people know most teams we beat didn’t have winning records.”

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The men’s basketball program released a challenging 2011-2012 schedule today, highlighted by 15 opponents that advanced to postseason play last March. The schedule is a sign of new head coach Mike Lonergan’s efforts to challenge his program, a challenging slate of opponents designed to strengthen the team and improve its chances of success within the Atlantic 10.

Tony Taylor

Rhode Island will be the first A-10 opponent to travel to the Smith Center in the upcoming season. Last year, GW posted a 66-55 victory over the Rams at Rhode Island. | File Photo

The upcoming season will be the first under Lonergan, and GW will play 14 of their 30 regular-season games at the Smith Center. Of those 14, six will feature opponents that reached the postseason, including NCAA Tournament teams UAB, Richmond and Xavier.

“We’ll be challenging our student-athletes with very difficult non-conference games to go along with the rigorous Atlantic 10 schedule,” Lonergan said. “This schedule should prepare us to be at our best heading into the A-10 tournament and for what hopefully will be some important late-season games come March.”

GW’s season will again kick off with an exhibition game against Bowie State, hosting the Bulldogs Nov. 6. Lonergan’s first season will officially begin five days later, when the Colonials host the University of Maryland Eastern Shore Nov. 11.

From there, GW will swing into its previously announced non-conference schedule. The program will play its next six games away from home, beginning with the CBE Classic, where the Colonials will travel to the University of California Nov. 13, a matinee game that will be broadcast on ESPNU. GW will complete the tournament by travling to Bowling Green, Oh., playing three games in three days against Detriot, Austin Peay and Bowling Green.

GW will conclude its road trip Dec. 1 at Kansas State before heading back to the District to take on 2011 NCAA Final Four Participant VCU in the annual BB&T Classic, held in the Verizon Center.

The Colonials will return to the Smith Center to host Loyola University Maryland Dec. 7, pitting Lonergan against former Catholic University teammate and roommate Jimmy Patsos, the head coach of the Greyhounds. GW returns to the road Dec. 10 to take on Big East powerhouse Syracuse, where assistant director of basketball operations Maurice Joseph’s younger brother, Kris Joseph, is a forward for the Orange.

The Colonials enter a four-game home stretch upon their return from Syracuse, hosting Bradley Dec. 15, James Madison Dec. 22, UAB Dec. 28 and Delaware State Dec. 31. GW will complete its non-conference schedule Jan. 14 at Harvard, who narrowly defeated the Colonials at home last season.

GW will open Atlantic 10 play Jan. 4 at St. Bonaventure, then traveling to Saint Louis Jan. 7 before hosting its first conference opponent when Rhode Island travels to Foggy Bottom Jan. 11. The Colonials will also host Xavier, Richmond, Duquesne, Massachusetts, Saint Joseph’s (the team that knockedGW out of last season’s A-10 tournament with an overtime victory in the first round), Charlotte and La Salle. GW will also travel to Richmond, Temple, Dayton, Fordham, Charlotte and La Salle.

The Colonials’ full A-10 schedule is listed below, with opponents in bold. Announced starting times for games are listed, all other tip-off times will be announced at a later date.

at. St. Bonaventure, Jan. 4

at Saint Louis, Jan. 7

vs. Rhode Island, Jan. 11

vs. Richmond, Jan. 18

vs. Charlotte, Jan 21

at. La Salle, Jan. 25

at Fordham, Jan. 28. 1 p.m.

vs. Xavier, Feb. 1

vs. Massachusetts, Feb. 4

at Temple, Feb. 8

at Richmond, Feb. 11, 5 p.m.

vs. Saint Joseph’s, Feb. 18

at Charlotte, Feb. 22

vs. Duquesne, Feb. 25

vs. La Salle, Feb. 29

at Dayton, March 3, 12 p.m.

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Monday, Aug. 8, 2011 9:44 p.m.

GW to face VCU in annual BB&T Classic

bb&t classic, Bryan Bynes, Navy

Junior guard Bryan Bynes goes for a basket at last season's BB&T Classic against the Navy Midshipmen in the Verizon Center. File Photo

GW’s upcoming match-up against a 2011 Final Four team is official, with the Colonials set to square off against Virginia Commonwealth University in the annual BB&T Classic. The game is scheduled for Dec. 4 at 2:30 p.m.

The Classic is an annual doubleheader basketball showcase, hosted by GW and the University of Maryland. The Terrapins will face Notre Dame in the second game this year, completing the 2011 lineup of games that will benefit the Children’s Charities Foundation.

VCU was a true Cinderella story last season, advancing to the program’s first-ever Final Four in the 2011 NCAA Tournament. The Rams posted a 28-12 overall record on their way to becoming just the third 11-seed team in Tournament history to advance to the Final Four, before falling to Butler. Coached by Shaka Smart, VCU finished sixth in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll at the end of the season, the highest ever rating earned by the program.

The Colonials seek to re-establish themselves as a basketball powerhouse under new head coach Mike Lonergan in the upcoming season. GW is coming off their best season in the past four years, where former head coach Karl Hobbs lead the team to a 17-14 overall record, tying for fourth place in the Atlantic 10.

The Rams and the Colonials last squared off in the 2010 College Basketball Invitational tournament, where VCU ended GW’s season with a narrow 79-73 victory. Prior to that, the programs had only competed against each other once, when VCU beat GW 74-64 at a tournament in Charlottesville, Va., in the first game of the 1978-79 season.

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Sunday, June 12, 2011 11:11 a.m.

Men’s basketball to face Bradley

Correction Appended

The Colonials will host the Bradley Braves at the Smith Center December 15, pjstar.com is reporting. GW will travel to Bradley to complete a home-and-away series in the 2012-13 season.

GW began to outline its out-of-conference schedule in April, including plans to open the season by playing in the CBE Classic and later host Virginia Commonwealth for the annual BB&T Classic. Earlier this month, the Colonials announced their conference match-ups for the upcoming season. Dates and times for most games have yet to be officially announced.

After a 2006 Sweet 16 run, the Braves have struggled in recent seasons and finished play in 2010-11 with a 12-20 overall record, tied for ninth of nine in the Missouri Valley Conference. It was just the fifth time in program history that the team posted 20 or more losses, and it culminated in the dismissal of former head coach Jim Les, who was in his ninth year as coach at his alma mater. He was replaced by Geno Ford, who looks to help Bradley battle back from a season marked by challenging injuries and disappointing performance.

GW will also take the court under new leadership this season, as Mike Lonergan takes the helm after Karl Hobbs’ departure in April. The Colonials are coming off of their best season in the past four years after Hobbs led his team to a 17-14 overall record and a 10-6 mark in Atlantic 10 play, good enough for a tie for fourth place in the final conference standings. GW lost in the first round of the conference tournament to 12th seeded Saint Joseph’s, the second time in two years the Colonials qualified for the league tournament before falling in the first round.

 

This article was updated June 15,2011 to reflect the following:
The Hatchet incorrectly reported it was the men’s basketball program’s first trip to the A-10 tournament in four seasons. It was the team’s first trip since last seaso

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