We were at Madison Square Garden Thursday for the Colonials’ historic NIT championship win. Here’s a look back at the celebration:
Your Guide to GW sports
GW men’s basketball has had a season filled with ups and downs. Here are some of its highlights en route to the championship game of the National Invitation Tournament.
What: Men’s basketball (14‒4, 3‒2 A-10) vs. Rhode Island (11‒7, 3‒2 A-10)
Where: Smith Center, Washington D.C., ESPN2 (TV)
When: Friday, Jan. 19 at 7 p.m.
The Colonials return home Friday to face Rhode Island after a two-game road stint in which they split contests at Massachusetts and Dayton. Without senior guard Joe McDonald, GW topped the Minutemen 81–70 in Amherst but fell to the Flyers 77–70 in a tight battle featuring two of the Atlantic 10’s top squads.
The Rams are coming off of a 73–62 win over La Salle, but dropped their two previous games at Saint Joseph’s and Saint Bonaventure.
Rhode Island was picked to finish second in the A-10 preseason poll, just behind Dayton, but has since underperformed in large part due to the loss of star junior guard E.C. Matthews, who suffered a torn ACL during the Rams’ first game of the season.
GW was picked to finish fourth in the preseason poll but has since built up one of the A-10’s best non-conference resumes. Boasting the same A-10 record, the Colonials and Rams will both fight hard to pick a valuable fourth conference victory as league play heats up.
The case for the Colonials:
With the loss of Matthews, GW’s defense should have an easier time shutting down a once-volatile Rhode Island offense which now averages just 71.2 points per game, 11th-best in the A-10.
The Rams are dangerous from three, shooting 37.3 percent from beyond the arc to the Colonials’ 35.8, but GW is also has the second-best three-point defense in the conference, allowing opponents to score just 30.8 percent of the time from deep.
McDonald’s status is still unclear for Friday night’s matchup, but at Massachusetts the Colonials’ offense proved they could pick up the slack. Redshirt junior forward Tyler Cavanaugh is averaging a team-high 17.2 points per game, while senior forward Kevin Larsen adds a team-best average of 8.2 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game.
GW is also fighting to preserve a perfect 10‒0 record at home, where they’ve only lost three times since March of 2013.
Revenge may also be on the mind for the Colonials, who were ousted from last year’s A-10 tournament in the second round by the Rams, 71‒58. In that decision, Matthews put up a game-high 21 points.
The case for the Rams:
Although GW has boasted impressive defensive numbers all season, the Rams’ defense concedes and average of only 64.4 points per game. That’s the best in the A-10, and 35th-best defense in the country.
Rhode Island will need to sustain its defensive prowess in hostile territory and frustrate a GW offense that’s used to scoring at home. Both teams also boast the second and third best rebounding margins in the conference, so the battle on the boards could also be theirs for the taking.
After losing Matthews, the Rams have relied on a team effort on offense. Five players are currently averaging double-digit scoring figures but no player is averaging more than 12.8 per game. That number belongs to junior forward and leading scorer Hassan Martin, who also adds 5.6 boards per game.
Six-foot-9-inch junior forward Kuran Iverson averages a team-high 6.8 rebounds per game, while sophomore guard Jarvis Garrett leads Rhode Island with an average of 4.4 assists per game and adds 12.2 points per game.
The bottom line:
While Rhode Island is no longer the favorite in what would have been a clash between A-10, postseason-bound powerhouses, the Rams still pose a formidable threat. GW can potentially string together a handful of league wins during the upcoming stretch, but it has to start with a solid win at home on Friday.
This post was written by Hatchet Senior Staff Writer Alex Kist.
On the brink of 2016, GW may have fulfilled some of its New Year’s resolutions early.
The Colonials went out with a bang, closing out their 2015 season with a 30-point rout of Hartford in their final non-conference match. Along with consistent, physical inside defense, GW had a few firsts in the Wednesday night matchup.
Novelties came from both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball, as the Colonials amassed a season-high 30 offensive rebounds. Junior forward Caira Washington got good looks down low and finished with a game-high 19 points and notched nine rebounds.
Graduate student guard Lauren Chase posted a career-high 12 assists against only one turnover. Chase’s confidence on the court has allowed her to be a selfless leader and has helped her to stand out in her final season as a Colonial.
“I would love that ratio every single game,” head coach Jonathan Tsipis said. “She really put our kids in unbelievable positions to be successful. I’m so excited for her because she is sacrificing some points on her own end to make sure we are getting everybody a ball, that part of knowing that you give up a good shot for a great shot.”
Junior guard Hannah Schaible followed suit with 12 points and five rebounds, and freshman guard Mei-Lyn Bautista and sophomore forward Kelli Prange ignited second-half spark, notching nine points apiece against the Hawks. Tsipis said that depth on the roster is key as the Colonials move into all-conference play.
GW (10-3) soared to a 82–51 victory against Hartford (4-8), characterized by ball control inside the paint, solid shot selection and balanced bench contributions.
After a slow first quarter with GW scraping by with a 22–21 advantage, the Colonials bounced back in the second and exploded offensively. GW jumped out to a 10-point advantage after going on an 11-2 run culminating with an impressive three-point shot from Bautista. Bautista knocked down three shots from beyond the arc on the night. The Colonials closed out the first half by a 46–30 margin.
Fresh out of the locker rooms, GW elevated its defensive pressure and held Hartford to six points in the third quarter. The Colonials were off to a quick start, led by senior forward Jonquel Jones who shot a seamless left wing jumper to open play. GW continued to run the floor for the remainder of the frame and took a wide 52–30 lead rallying off a 6-0 run. Prange rolled of her own screen for a three pointer right before the buzzer to extend the lead to 62–36.
GW gave up only 13 turnovers against Hartford, showing improvement from its 19.5 turnovers per game average. Chase said that minimizing possession loss has been a main focus at practice.
“We work on it pretty much every day, as our primary focus is limiting turnovers,” Chase said. “Making easy plays, being smart with the ball is something that we’ve keyed on every single game. We have been working on trying to play fast but under control.”
The Colonials were persistent in the paint and posted 20 second-chance points to the Hawks’ three. With Chase dishing out good passes underneath, the Colonials had better shot options and had 20 more field goal attempts than the competition.
GW continued to be the aggressor in the fourth quarter and remained physical inside, as senior guard Alexis Chandler got a lay in and one to boost the lead to 67–43. Prange showed composure from the charity stripe to knock down two free throws, and the Colonials showed off their perimeter play in the final minute in regulation. Sophomore guard Camila Tapias and senior guard Aaliyah Brown each posted a wing three to eclipse the Hawks in the 31-point decision.
As the team enters Atlantic 10 play on Sunday, Tsipis said that “taking care of the basketball,” will be a top priority.
“I think we are taking good shots, but we need to make sure that we get more shots and not turn the ball over,” Tsipis said. “Defensively, we need to be able to continue to change defenses more effectively, to keep them off balance and take things away. I think there is definitely room for growth.”
The Colonials return to action on Sunday to take on Saint Joseph’s in Philadelphia at 3 p.m.
Colonials Invasion, GW’s annual kickoff for the men’s and women’s basketball season, was held in the Smith Center on Friday night.
Students, families and fans attending Colonials Invasion enjoyed music, performances and slam dunks from men’s and women’s basketball players.
“When you come to GW, you’re a champion on this court, you’re a champion in the classroom, and you set yourself up to be a champion the rest of your life,” said Jonathan Tsipis, head coach of the women’s basketball team.
Video by Ashley Le
It was senior day at the Smith Center on Saturday, and while lone fourth-year forward John Kopriva posted an impressive 12 points and four rebounds, it was a GW freshman who stole the show.
Freshman forward Yuta Watanabe hit a career-high seven three-pointers to finish with 21 points and four rebounds, as four more Colonials went on to score in double figures en route to a dominant 87-65 victory over Massachusetts.
“We made shots today,” head coach Mike Lonergan said. “I wanted John to win on senior day. He’s done a lot for our program… He played great, our team played great and it’s nice to see us put the ball in the basket.”
The Colonials’ bench followed closely behind, as junior guard Kethan Savage put up 13 points and five rebounds, while freshman guard Paul Jorgensen added 12, going 2-2 from three-point range in the 22-point win.
A slow start for the Colonials allowed the Minutemen to jump to a 14-9 lead midway through the first half. Turnover woes seemed to plague the home team early, but GW soon found its composure and began rolling offensively.
“We were sluggish for the first three minutes, and it surprised me,” Lonergan said. “I took Yuta out after about a minute to talk to him and put Kethan in. We turned the ball over a few times, but then we played great after that.”
Sharp shooting, fittingly sparked by a pair of threes from Kopriva, became contagious. Watanabe would lead the half with 12 points as five different Colonials contributed to a whopping nine first-half three-pointers.
A 65.5 percent clip from the field and only five turnovers in the first frame helped the Colonials secure a commanding 50-28 lead heading into halftime. GW would also finish the night with 19 crucial assists, two shy of its season-high, with efficient passing that led to good looks.
“We were struggling in February, holding the ball and dribbling too much trying to create too many shots on our own, individually, and that’s not our strength,” Lonergan said. “Our guys really shared the ball today, and hopefully they see that we can be successful when we play as a team.”
The second half would bring much of the same, as GW kept up its offensive onslaught while Massachusetts struggled to get anything going. Watanabe would knock down three more from beyond the arc to round off a GW offense that shot 60 percent from the field and 77.8 percent from three on the day.
“[Yuta] kept his confidence the whole time. Truthfully, it pushed me,” Kopriva said. “You see him hitting the shots, and [I think], ‘I’ve got to make some shots myself’… He’s a key part of our team.”
The Colonials also held the Minutemen to just 39.3 percent from the field with a strong defensive effort, as Massachusetts turned the ball over 11 times in the contest and shot just 26.3 percent from three.
The win also secured GW a No. 6 spot in the Atlantic 10 tournament next week. The Colonials will return to action Thursday night at 9 p.m.
“Once we had the win secure, I got to walk off to a standing ‘o’ from the crowd. That was pretty special,” Kopriva said. “It’s been a great place to me, great to go out on a win, but we don’t want this to end. We’ve got to keep it going.”
RICHMOND – It was a tale of two halves in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic 10 tournament for the women’s basketball team, which ultimately went on to defeat Saint Louis 77-63 on Friday.
The Colonials knew they wouldn’t have an easy path through the A-10 tournament after the Billikens knocked off VCU on Thursday – and it showed in the first half.
GW and Saint Louis, the only team to take down the Colonials during conference play, battled for the entire first frame.
“I’d be lying if I didn’t say there was some extra motivation,” head coach Jonathan Tsipis said. “Just because when you finish the regular season with one conference loss and you happen to be playing that same team, I’d be lying.”
The Colonials never gave up the lead, but they couldn’t put any real distance between themselves and their opponent in the first half. Saint Louis matched nearly every shot GW took, pulling even at one point midway through the half and never trailing by more than eight.
The X factor for the Colonials in the first was sophomore forward Caira Washington, who led the offense for much of that frame, scoring 14 points and pulling down seven boards. She would finish the game with 24 points and was a rebound shy of a double-double.
“[I was] just getting into the right spots,” Washington said. “They were bringing two to double [frontcourt mate Jonquel Jones], and I just make my moves as quickly as possible. That worked for me today.”
The game started to shift GW’s way almost as soon as the buzzer went off signaling the start of the second half.
Behind the strong game of GW’s two bigs, sophomore guard Hannah Schaible had a good game, tying Jones with 14 points and dishing out five assists.
“As the game moved along, more and more people contributed for us,” Tsipis said. “Hannah Schaible was really good, a huge three-pointer in the first half. As we closed the first half, it gave us the same mentality as we started the second half.”
Washington had two steals early in the second, which helped swing momentum in the direction of the Colonials. They didn’t take their foot off the gas, while Saint Louis, whose starters all played significant minutes in their win over VCU, began to slow down early.
GW would hold the lead by as much as 19 midway through the half, anchored by continued strong play from Washington and a good second half from junior forward Jones.
Jones met her season average of a double-double per game, with 14 points and 15 rebounds, and most of that came in the second frame.
Saint Louis tried to launch a late comeback, but with about 3:30 remaining, a thunderous block from Jones and a steal from senior guard Chakecia Miller a minute later were enough to slow down the Billikens.
Saint Louis would bring it as close as seven, but the Colonials had built up enough of a lead that they were able to weather the late run.
As time wound down, the Colonials kept enough distance to force Saint Louis to foul. GW twisted the knife from the charity stripe, hitting free throws late and 81 percent for the day.
Dominance on the boards was also crucial for the Colonials: They grabbed 49 boards – led by Jones’ 15 – compared to Saint Louis’ 30.
“We’re a team all year that’s taken a lot of pride about being really good defensively and making sure people don’t get extra opportunities,” Tsipis said. “Plus 19 on the rebounding margin is the first thing we look at.”
With the win, GW will move on to the semifinals Saturday to face the winner of the Fordham and Richmond game.
Forget about picking your bracket winners based on weirdest mascots or best color combination. Try annual tuition payments.
Websites like The Awl and Slate have already done the math, and determined that GW would win the NCAA Tournament pretty handily if high tuition determined winners. The Colonials would blow away the competition, actually, with at least a $3,000 cushion in each matchup.
That’s probably not the best way to judge college pricing, however. If you were to pick based on average net price – or how much students pay after financial aid – GW would lose in the title game to American, according to a Hatchet analysis of Department of Education data. So, there’s some solace.
Adding insult to injury? GW would be knocked out in the first round if you used the NCAA’s Academic Progress Rate, according to Inside Higher Ed, and the second round if you used U.S. News & World Report rankings.
But remember: Georgetown isn’t dancing. Get those brackets filled out – using whatever method suits you.
Brooklyn, N.Y. — GW’s 85-77 win over UMass on Friday night was the Colonials’ first win in the Atlantic 10 tournament since 2007. The game drew thousands of students and alumni to Brooklyn, N.Y.
Hatchet photo editor Samuel Klein was on the sidelines to capture the action.
Ben Krimmel, a senior majoring in international affairs, is a Hatchet columnist.
Foggy Bottom had become a virtual ghost town by Monday afternoon of spring break.
Except for a few holdovers — like myself — milling around campus, the only people around were prospective students on tours. With the sun cascading down on the Smith Center, I snuck up on one such group to listen for any mention of the men’s basketball team.
Knowing the GW marketing team’s penchant for hyperbole, I expected the guide to proclaim the basketball team serious NCAA Tournament contenders next to the likes of Florida and Kansas.
Instead, the bragging was rather scant. The tour guide simply stated that there had been a few attendance records set during this year’s season. I was mystified.
No mention of the 23 wins – the most since 2007 – and nothing about the team’s No. 3 seed in this weeks A-10 Tournament. The guide didn’t even let his group know that tickets are free for students. This may have been the guide’s only chance to boast about the University without any hint of irony, and he let the opportunity go by.
Of course, the omission of more statistics about GW’s winning season was this particular tour guide’s choice. But perhaps the underselling of the team’s success by this student and others on campus can be chalked up to the University’s collective uncertainty on how to promote the men’s basketball team’s victories – a new source of GW pride – to prospective students.
This is something that GW should highlight more, certainly at least as much as we tout the school’s proximity to national landmarks.
Sure, one winning season certainly does not mean there will be a flood of applications from students more interested in “bracketology” than election forecasting. But as the basketball team brings more national attention to the University, and some seedlings of the change have already taken root.
The increase in this year’s student attendance demonstrates the beginnings of a greater sense of community — something the University is often criticized for failing to create.
Higher attendance is a testament to the work of Director of Athletics and Recreation Patrick Nero, the leaders of the Colonial Army, the players and men’s basketball head coach Mike Lonergan. Whether it is the pregame tailgates, t-shirt giveaways or a free trip for students to the game at George Mason, this has been a year where pride seems to finally be coming naturally to GW students.
Tour guides and all other current students would be unwise to continue using athletics as a punchline. In fact, they should make it a focal point: For the millions who fill out an NCAA Tournament bracket, GW will now be known as one of 68.