Your Guide to GW sports



Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015 6:11 p.m.

Preview: Men’s basketball vs. No. 6 UVA

Then-freshman Yuta Watanabe drives toward the paint in GW's game against Virginia last November. The Colonials second game of the home-and-home agreement will be broadcast on ESPN2 as ESPN's first men's college basketball game of the 2015-16 season Monday. Hatchet File Photo.

Then-freshman Yuta Watanabe drives toward the paint in GW’s game against Virginia last November. The Colonials second game of the home-and-home agreement will be broadcast on ESPN2 as ESPN’s first men’s college basketball game of the 2015-16 season Monday. Hatchet File Photo.

What: Men’s basketball (1-0) vs. No. 6 Virginia (1-0)
Where: The Smith Center, Washington, D.C., ESPN2 (TV)
When: Monday, Nov. 16, 7:30 p.m.

Just three days after the season opener, men’s basketball plays what could be its biggest game of the season. The Colonials host No. 6 Virginia in the first men’s basketball game of ESPN’s Tip-Off Marathon, seeking revenge for a second-half flop in Charlottesville last year in which GW led by four at the half but ultimately fell 59‒42.

Now, playing at home, the Colonials will try to recreate that for all 40 minutes and come away with what would be a huge win.

Here’s what to expect from the game:

Case for the Colonials: Virginia’s Achilles’ heel is a tendency to have bad shooting spells, particularly from three-point range. They ultimately ran away with the game, 86‒48, but the Cavaliers got off to a cold start in their season opener against an overmatched Morgan State, shooting 34.3 percent in the first half and 16.7 percent from beyond the arc.

That was how the Colonials kept pace early in the game against Virginia last year, even when the Cavaliers had their best three-point threat in Justin Anderson, who now plays for the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA. Anderson shot a team-high 45 percent from beyond the arc last season and Virginia’s overall three-point shooting percentage dropped from 35.2 to 29.9 during an eight-game stretch when Anderson was injured last year.

Virginia’s turnover numbers also went up without Anderson, from 9.3 per game overall to 11.125 per game during the stretch he missed. Scouts and analysts seem to think they’ll pick up right where they left off, but it’s possible his graduation is more of a hit than has been realized.

If the Cavaliers go cold, it will be up to GW to make its shots. Playing against Virginia’s pack-line defense, which led the nation in allowing just 51.4 points per game last year, makes outside shooting critical. The Colonials were bad from beyond the arc in their season opener Friday, making just two of 17 three-point attempts, but are a better shooting team than last year and should be able to recover and hit some buckets.

“We’ve got to be able to score with them,” head coach Mike Lonergan said. “They’re not a high scoring team but they control the tempo. And we had a lot of scoring droughts last year. I don’t think we’ll have as many this year but I think a big key for us in the Virginia game, we’ll have to make threes.”

Playing in the Smith Center, though, is always a huge advantage for the Colonials. Judging by what Virginia’s players said when asked about the game after their season opener, it’s their biggest fear as well.

“They are a really strong team. We’re going to go into a crazy environment,” redshirt senior forward Anthony Gill said. “They have everyone back from last year, so we just have to be ready for their best punch. We have to be ready for that kind of environment, too. They have a small gym with the fans right on top of you.”

Case for the Cavaliers: One of the critical matchups in the game will be senior guard Patricio Garino on all-ACC first teamer Malcolm Brogdon. Brogdon had a bad game in Virginia’s season opener Friday, shooting two-for-seven from the field and missing all four three-point attempts for just five points in 21 minutes, but don’t expect that to happen twice. If anything, he will be more motivated to perform up to his skill level.

“He’s a different type of player,” Garino said. “He’s not the type of player that you see with all these highlights, super athletic or making all these moves. I think he’s super solid. He takes care of the ball a lot, he really knows how to read the game, has a super high IQ and that’s what makes it more difficult. You can’t second guess anything.”

The Colonials often show their 1-3-1 defense to force opponents into bad perimeter shots, but Lonergan said he doesn’t plan on using it much because it is also meant to force turnovers, which the Cavaliers don’t commit often. He will likely stick to a contained man defense and not press much.

That’s because of the matchup, but it’s also to conserve energy. UVA comes into the game more rested after playing no one for more than 23 minutes on Friday, while four starters played 25 minutes or more for GW in its season-opener.

Senior forward Kevin Larsen, who played 29 minutes against Lafayette, will have to find all the energy he has Monday. He draws a nice matchup in center Mike Tobey and should benefit from more space with the addition of redshirt junior forward Tyler Cavanaugh, but can’t afford another performance like he had last year at UVA where he was swallowed by double teams and ended up shooting one-for-three with four turnovers.

“It’s going to be good revenge,” Larsen said. “I had a bad game last year so I’m pretty excited for it. It’s going to be fun.”

Bottom line: The Cavaliers are the favorite, but GW has had a big non-conference win over a ranked team in each of the past two seasons. This time, the balance will hang on the Colonials’ ability to make outside shots.

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Then-sophomore guard Joe McDonald drives toward the basket against Radford last season. Hatchet File Photo

Then-sophomore guard Joe McDonald drives toward the basket against Radford last season. Hatchet File Photo

The men’s basketball team will make at least 14 appearances on national television this season, including six at home, the athletics department announced Wednesday.

GW’s record 14 national appearances is a three-game improvement from last season when the Colonials were featured in 11 nationally televised games. Three of GW’s home games will be broadcast on ESPN networks, which will be the first time ESPN has broadcast a Colonials’ home game since the 2006-07 season.

The first broadcast from home will be Jan. 15 on ESPNU, when the Colonials host Richmond’s Spiders.

On Feb. 6, ESPN will broadcast GW’s home game against Dayton and just a week later ESPN2 will give GW its final home-court broadcast on Feb. 14, when GW hosts VCU in a Valentine’s Day matchup.

The remaining ESPN broadcasts include three away games when GW jumps into the Diamond Head Classic from Dec. 22 to 25.

Another eight GW conference games, split evenly, will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network and NBC Sports Network.

In addition to the national attention, the department expects at least 20 of the Colonials’ 31 regular season games will land on regional broadcasts.

“This is phenomenal exposure for our university, men’s basketball program and athletic department,” Athletic Director Patrick Nero said in a release. “Our team and the Colonial Army have worked hard to raise the level of GW basketball, and I am happy to see their accomplishments being recognized.”

After going 24-9 last season (14-1 at home), head coach Mike Lonergan will look to build on last year’s success.

“Our students, fans, campus community, alumni, players and recruits all rally around national TV games, so to have at least 14 of them, including three home games on the ESPN Networks, is going to make this an exciting season in Foggy Bottom and at the Charles E. Smith Center,” Lonergan said.

Overall, the Atlantic 10 set a new conference record with 75 nationally televised games for the season.

GW’s full A-10 schedule:
Saturday, Jan. 3 at Saint Joseph’s – TBD – CBSSN
Tuesday, Jan. 6 vs. Saint Louis – TBD – CBSSN
Saturday, Jan. 10 at La Salle – 12:30 p.m. – NBCSN
Thursday, Jan. 15 vs. Richmond – TBD – ESPNU
Saturday, Jan. 17 vs. George Mason – 4:30 p.m. – NBCSN
Thursday, Jan. 22 at Fordham – 7 p.m. – NBCSN
Saturday, Jan. 24 vs. Duquesne – TBD
Tuesday, Jan. 27 at VCU – TBD – CBSSN
Saturday, January 31 at Rhode Island – TBD
Friday, Feb. 6 vs. Dayton – TBD – ESPN2
Wednesday, Feb. 11 at Duquesne – 7 p.m. – A-10 Network/SNY
Saturday, Feb. 14 vs. VCU – TBD – ESPN2
Wednesday, February 18 vs. Davidson – TBD
Saturday, Feb. 21 at Richmond – TBD – CBSSN
Wednesday, Feb. 25 vs. St. Bonaventure – TBD
Saturday, February 28 at Davidson – TBD
Wednesday, March 4 at George Mason – 7 p.m. – A-10 Network/SNY
Saturday, March 7 vs. Massachusetts – 3:30 p.m. – NBCSN

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Head coach Mike Lonergan exits the court last season. Hatchet File Photo

Head coach Mike Lonergan exits the court last season. Hatchet File Photo

Men’s basketball head coach Mike Lonergan has been getting coaching advice from a very trusted source: his wife.

In an interview with ESPN’s Myron Medcalf, Lonergan revealed that his better half – Maggie Lonergan, a former women’s basketball coach at Division III Catholic University – will reportedly send him text messages throughout games with advice on second-half adjustments.

“We watch a lot of film. I’ve never told anybody this. Probably shouldn’t say it. At some games, I’ll have her text me. My wife, she’ll watch a game if it’s on TV. … She watched our game [against St. Bonaventure on Saturday night] on the computer. I’ll give my phone to my assistant director of operations and I’ll tell him just to show it to me at halftime. And she’ll text me like late [Saturday] night. She said, go at No. 3, their point guard, and go at their big guy, they’re in foul trouble. Usually she’ll give me some pretty good advice. … She definitely is a big part of it. My wife definitely helps me in a lot of ways. I don’t think [Mike Krzyzewski] is calling his wife or getting text messages at halftime. It definitely helps me. She could be the best coach in our house.”

That might be the cutest thing you read all day.

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Forward Isaiah Armwood dunked against a Bowie State earlier this season. Hatchet File Photo

Forward Isaiah Armwood dunked against a Bowie State earlier this season. Hatchet File Photo

Trying on your dancing shoes? The season is still young, but the NCAA Tournament wouldn’t include the Colonials if it ended today, an ESPN analyst projected Monday.

Despite also earning five votes in the AP Top 25 poll Monday, Joe Lunardi taps GW as the first team out of the 64-team NCAA tournament bracket. The Colonials along with Xavier, Notre Dame and Stanford were in Lunardi’s “First Four Out”

Good thing it’s only December.

Despite their best start in eight years, the 9-1 Colonials were unable to crack Lunardi’s bracket while four other Atlantic 10 Conference teams made the cut (St. Louis, Dayton, VCU, and UMass). UMass was the highest rated A-10 team carrying a projected No. 6 seed.

Notably, three teams that GW has beat so far in preseason play (Creighton, Maryland and Manhattan) also all made Lunardi’s list.

Unfortunately for GW, a potential win against their next opponent, the UMBC Retrievers (3-8) will not increase their postseason resume. But with much tougher opponents in Kansas State and Georgia to follow, the Colonials will have plenty of opportunities to continue to make a case for tournament bid based on an impressive non-conference record.

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Friday, Oct. 25, 2013 5:52 p.m.

ESPN Insider puts GW at No. 90 in the country

ESPN likes the men’s basketball team this year – at least more than the Atlantic 10 coaches do.

In ESPN Insider’s Dan Hanner recent ranking of all 351 NCAA Division I men’s basketball teams, the Colonials come in at No. 90, good for eighth in the A-10.

That’s a bit better than the A-10 preseason poll, in which GW was slotted to finish No. 10 in the 13-team conference.

Hanner used a complex ranking system in which 10,000 simulations were run for every D-I player and every team defense. He has the Colonials offense poised to score 100.6 points per every 100 possessions, compared to a defense that will give up just 92.7 points per 100 possessions.

Also representing the A-10 are No. 1 VCU and No. 2 Saint Louis, who are ranked at No. 22 and No. 24 overall, respectively. Rounding out the rest of ESPN’s Top 8 are La Salle, Richmond, Dayton, UMass and Saint Joseph’s.

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Wednesday, July 17, 2013 1:01 p.m.

Colonials to face Hurricanes in Wooden Legacy opener

The men’s basketball team will square off against NCAA tournament contender University of Miami (Fla.) in the first round of the Wooden Legacy Tournament this Thanksgiving Day, ESPN announced Wednesday.

Recent transfer Maurice Creek was called a “player to watch” during the Wooden Legacy Tournament by ESPN. Photo courtesy of the Indiana Daily Student

The game will be played Nov. 28 at Cal State Fullerton’s Titan Gym at 2:00 p.m. on ESPNU.

The rest of the eight-team bracket was released on Wednesday as well, with the winner of the GW vs. Miami matchup set to face the winner of the Marquette vs. Cal State-Fullerton game (4:30 p.m., ESPN2) also being played on Thursday.

The Hurricanes are led by third-year head coach Jim Larranga, who helped take his team to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament last season, where they lost to anotherWooden Legacy participant, Marquette.

Miami finished last season with an overall 29-7 record and an ACC Tournament Championship, but return none of the team’s five starters from last year. GW holds a 2-0 record against Miami, with those victories coming back in 1971 and 1991.

For the tournament, recent transfer and graduate student guard Maurice Creek was placed on ESPN’s Players to Watch List, which read, “if he can finally stay healthy and realize his potential, it could be big for the Colonials.”

Ten of the tournament’s 12 games can be seen on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU, while the remaining two will air on ESPN3. All final round games will be played on Dec. 1 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The bottom half of the bracket consists of the tournament’s four remaining teams, College of Charlestown vs. San Diego State (8:30 p.m., ESPNU) and Creighton vs. Arizona State (11:00 p.m., ESPN2).

Click here for the full bracket.

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The GW players cheer for Armwood as he enters the locker room following the game. Jordan Emont | Photo Editor

Mark your calendars- the Colonials are going to Brooklyn.

After yesterday’s thrilling one-point overtime victory, GW waited for the dust to settle from the rest of the day’s A-10 action.

When it did, the Colonials emerged as the No. 11 seed in the Atlantic 10 tournament. They’ll take on No. 6 Massachusetts, a team GW defeated earlier this year, at 9 p.m. Thursday.

Something the team might have watched while celebrating its Brooklyn bid? Senior forward Isaiah Armwood’s game-winning dunk making SportsCenter’s top plays of the day, debuting at number five.

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Then- senior forward Aaron Ware attempts to get a shot off over a VCU opponent last season. VCU joins the A-10 this year. Hatchet File Photo

Tuesday, ESPN reported that a Big East division could bring seven schools into the Atlantic 10’s ranks, making it a 21-team conference.

But a new report from the New York Post cautions that, should those programs break from the Big East, they might not be interested in becoming part of the A-10. Instead, the Post reported, they may want to combine with a select few Atlantic 10 programs to make a new conference.

“A source said the Big East was leaning towards a second option – adding schools. It wants to return to its days as a 10-12 school conference with a homogenous membership headlined by elite basketball programs in urban markets,” the Post reported.

So far, the Atlantic 10 has emerged as one of the conferences to benefit from the ongoing realignment, adding Butler and VCU to its ranks this year. This season, the A-10 has a 16-team field that will shrink to 14 after Temple and Charlotte depart at the end of the 2012-13 season.

Rounding out the league’s changes is a new media rights deal that increases the conference’s national profile significantly.

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David Pellom, men's basketball, Temple

Then-sophomore forward David Pellom drives to the net against Temple two seasons ago. This year is the Owls’ last in the A-10. | Hatchet File Photo

ESPN’s Andy Katz reported today that the Atlantic 10 is considering further expansion as conference realignment continues to shake up collegiate sports, citing a source “with direct knowledge of the situation” that says the league has discussed becoming a 21-team conference.

The Atlantic 10 has emerged as one of the conferences to benefit from the ongoing realignment, adding Butler and VCU to its ranks this year. This season, the A-10 has a 16-team field that will shrink to 14 after Temple and Charlotte depart at the end of the 2012-13 season.

The A-10’s interest would be piqued should high-profile Big East schools become available as that conference continues to change. Those schools include Marquette, DePaul, Georgetown, Providence, Seton Hall, St. John’s and Villanova. As the Big East continues to change, Katz reported that those seven schools are deciding “whether to split from the league” and that television deals are driving their decision. And the A-10’s new media rights deal is an attractive package, one that increases the league’s national profile significantly.

For the Atlantic 10, adding the new members would mean redesigning the format of the conference. Possible options include ” two 10-team divisions or a true 20-game conference schedule, with 10 home and 10 road games, by playing everyone once,” Katz reported.

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Head coach Mike Lonergan exits the court last season. Hatchet File Photo ranked the best and worst of men’s collegiate basketball coaching jobs today, giving the Xavier gig the nod for top in the Atlantic 10 – and Fordham the worst.

The rankings only listed the top and bottom three for each conference, and though GW’s head coaching position “picked up some votes” for the worst in the league, the article said, it wasn’t enough to make the list. Conferences were ranked based on the 2012-13 league profiles by 14 ESPN writers and TV analysts.

They took into consideration “facilities, expectation level, athletic budget, wins and losses, recruiting base, fan support/pressure and all of the other factors that go into determining the “best” jobs in the ever-crazy profession of college basketball coaching,” Brett Edgerton of reported.

The top three men’s basketball head coaching jobs in the A-10 were ranked as Xavier, Temple and Butler. The bottom three were Duquesne, St. Bonaventure and Fordham.

“No matter who the coach is, Xavier just keeps winning year after year. That would be the definition of a good coaching job — and that’s why X was the unanimous pick. VCU was the group’s choice for the third spot before Butler’s decision to move to the A-10 immediately prompted a re-vote,” the article reported. “As for the bottom three, Rhode Island and GW picked up some votes but Fordham’s non-stop losing, the Bonnies’ remote location and Duquesne’s 25-year tourney drought was too much to overcome. “

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