AMHERST, Mass., Jan. 10 - After losing its first regular-season Atlantic 10 game since March 1, 2005, Karl Hobbs said he is having a tough time convincing his players that they are not the team they were last year.
"For some reason (members of the media) seem to be stuck and think this is last year's team and I just cant get our guys to realize that this is a young basketball team," Hobbs said.
And Hobbs' young basketball team, which starts three seniors, lost to Massachusetts at Mullins Center Wednesday night 91-84 in front of 4,106 fans.
Hobbs said he thought the reason the Colonials (10-4, 1-1 A-10) lost was clear. Rashaun Freeman and Stephane Lasme, both seniors, took over the game with a dominating performance. Lasme had his second triple-double this season with 23 points, 15 rebounds and 11 blocks. Freeman put in 21 points and seven boards.
"I think the difference of the game was that they got a fifth year guy in Freeman," Hobbs said. "They got a fourth year guy in Lasme. When you look at the stats, you see the two veterans took over the game. That's what veterans do. They took advantage of a guy that's never played significant minutes in Dokun (Akingbade). I thought he tried."
Freeman said the game gives the Minutemen a lot of confidence going into league play.
"The whole rest of the A-10 was looking at this game," Freeman said. "(GW) has held the A-10 down."
The Colonials got a career-high 30 points from junior Maureece Rice and 19 from senior Carl Elliott. The double-digit performance broke Elliott out of a slump, during which he had double-digit points once in four games. Sophomore Rob Diggs had 10 points on 3-of-10 shooting and went 3-for-10 from the free throw line.
Akingbade, GW's starting big man, had one rebound and shot 1-for-5 from the floor.
A reason which Hobbs is giving for his team's somewhat inconsistent performance is that this season is a rebuilding year. The Colonials are now 3-4 outside of the District.
"You name me any young team, they don't have success on the road," Hobbs said. "I know we're supposed to be exception, but we're not. We got young guys that are learning how to play."
When asked about the goals of this year's "rebuilding team," Hobbs was perfectly clear.
"What I want to see is going out improving every game," Hobbs said. "And I want to see us executing. I want to see us executing our game plan."
GW did execute its plays sometimes, Hobbs admitted, but clearly not enough, Hobbs said.
"I think the score was 91-84," Hobbs said. "They had the most points."
Ford, who is his second year with the Minutemen, said he hopes his team has rebuilding years as good as GW's.
The Colonials return to action Saturday at Smith Center against St. Bonaventure at 2 p.m.