GW men’s basketball head coach Mike Jarvis said he hopes the sixth-annual Red Auerbach Colonial Classic was a learning experience for his Colonials, who escaped as tournament champions by topping a resilient University of Delaware team 84-79 Saturday.
Jarvis said his team underestimated the Blue Hens and that he hopes GW players learned they cannot take anything for granted.
“That is the way people learn, and I hope our guys learned some lessons tonight,” Jarvis said.
GW was led by junior point guard Shawnta Rogers’ 21 points and five three pointers. Rogers was awarded the tournament MVP award for the second consecutive year.
“I’m not happy with the way it ended up, that the game was so close,” Rogers said. “Playing against teams, you never take them for granted and you have to play hard all of the time. Coming into the game we probably thought we had everything under control, and we didn’t.”
GW did not underestimate Howard University in the first game of the tournament Friday, blowing out the Bison 101-64.
GW (2-0) will be at home again Wednesday to play American University at 7:30 p.m.
GW 84, Delaware 79
Delaware continually found ways to bounce back against GW in Saturday’s championship game. The Blue Hens trailed by 16 points at one point in the first half and again by 12 points late in the game, but kept mounting comebacks until finally succumbing 84-79.
After trailing the entire game, Delaware came back behind hot three-point shooting to take a 57-55 lead with 12 minutes left in the game.
However, GW tied the game at 57 and made a 21-9 run during the next eight minutes to put the Colonials in control, 78-66, with 3:11 left.
But the Hens were not finished coming back as they closed the gap to 82-79 with 40 seconds left.
Alexander Koul clinched the win for GW by drawing a foul and making two free throws with 23 seconds left.
Koul was effective down the stretch, despite playing with four fouls. The senior center finished with 18 points and seven rebounds.
GW never was able to dominate inside despite a tremendous height advantage.
“They did a good job of making us shoot over them and making sure we didn’t get too many second shots,” Jarvis said. “We got 16 offensive rebounds, but we probably should have gotten more.”
GW 101, Howard 64
Howard Coach Mike McLeese could only shake his head after GW’s 101-64 season-opening rout of his team Friday. The Bison put in a good effort against a GW team with a huge size advantage.
“They’re so physically tough inside,” McLeese said. “You just can’t simulate playing against 7-1, 6-9 and 6-9. They got second and third chances all night, and that was the ballgame.”
GW out-rebounded the Bison 52-37 and grabbed 22 offensive rebounds. Junior Yegor Mescheriakov, an All-Tournament selection, led the Colonials with 19 points and eight rebounds. Koul added 15 points and Rogers had 12 points and seven assists.
Rogers also set a tournament record with eight steals as part of an effective GW press which, along with cold Howard shooting, broke the game open for the Colonials.
In 17 minutes, spanning from the end of the first half to the start of the second, GW outscored Howard 46-12.