Men's basketball head coach Karl Hobbs could be forgiven if he got a feeling of déj? vu watching his team in its 64-57 loss Sunday evening against Navy in the BB&T Classic at the Verizon Center.
It was his team's shooting, or lack thereof, that once again left Hobbs shaking his head after the game and searching for answers. The Colonials (2-5) shot just 31 percent against the Midshipmen and just over 24 percent in the second half. GW made just three of 22 three-pointers, good for 13.6 percent from beyond the arc.
"Well we've been struggling pretty much all year shooting the ball," Hobbs said. "I thought we had some really, really good looks in the second half, I thought that we had a chance to kind of turn the momentum around, and we just really struggled making shots."
While GW struggled shooting the ball, Navy found the bottom of the basket with relative ease, shooting 45.5 percent from the floor and making 11 of 25 three-pointers. The Colonials especially struggled to keep tabs on Navy guard Jordan Sugars, who had 20 points and made four of eight threes.
It was the third time this season that GW has allowed an opponent to make double-digit shots from behind the three-point line. Both Boston University and UNC-Wilmington also sank 11 three-pointers against the Colonials in winning efforts, but Hobbs said he didn't see defending the three as being a major problem for his team, instead pointing again to his team's inability to make shots as the lone reason for its defeat.
"They made really clutch shots. Anytime you're shooting that many threes and anytime you can make 10, 11 in a game, you're gonna have an opportunity to win," Hobbs said. "I don't know if [defending against three-pointers is] our issue. I really think our issue is us shooting the ball. When you shoot, in the second half, 24 percent, that's our issue right now. We're just really struggling shooting the basketball."
The loss also marked the Colonials' first loss to Navy in almost 30 years. The Midshipmen last beat GW Feb. 14, 1980, in Annapolis, Md. The Colonials still lead the all-time series against Navy, 20-21.
Perhaps the lone bright spot for GW was sophomore forward David Pellom, who set a career-high with 13 rebounds and added 11 points to record the first double-double of his career. Sophomore Bryan Bynes also had 11 points, but he shot just 4-for-12 Sunday night. Sophomore Dwayne Smith had 10, but did the bulk of his damage from the free throw line.
Even Pellom, who had a career night against the Midshipmen, saw the need for improvement from the entire team after the Colonials' fourth straight loss.
"We just need to get in the gym more and shoot more," Hobbs said. "We're getting all the good looks we can ask for, we just gotta knock down the shots."
With five games left before the end of 2010, including trips to Alabama-Birmingham and Oregon State, Hobbs said that it would be crucial for his team not to let its shooting slump turn into a mental slump, too.
"I think you're always concerned about that because you know that the games are coming, and you have to play them," Hobbs said. "For us, [the goal is] to just keep the team focused, keep them playing with energy, keep them playing with enthusiasm and just keep trying to improve. That's what you have to do."
Next up for GW is a home game Wednesday against Towson, a team GW beat 73-69 last season on the road. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. at the Smith Center, where the Colonials will look to get back on the right track offensively.
"I think if you go back and watch the tape of this game, I think if you watch the tape of the last game we played, we're getting terrific looks," Hobbs said. "We just gotta make the shots. I don't know what else to tell you, we've just got to make the shots."