GW men’s basketball Coach Mike Jarvis said Thursday that he hoped his Colonials would remain in the Atlantic 10 Tournament long enough to wear all the clothes they had brought to Philadelphia.
After playing its best basketball in weeks, GW returned to Washington Saturday night with suitcases full of dirty clothes and a trophy signifying second place in the A-10 Tournament. The Colonials beat 24th-ranked Massachusetts Thursday and 23rd-ranked Temple Friday, but lost to Xavier 77-63 in Saturday’s championship game.
The NCAA Tournament Selection Committee made GW a ninth seed in the South Region Sunday. GW will play Oklahoma State in Lexington, Ky. Friday. If the Colonials win Friday, they most likely will play Duke University in the second round.
“I’m very proud of our team,” Jarvis said. “A lot of people didn’t expect us to be playing in the championship game and a lot of people won’t expect us to go far in the NCAA Tournament, but we will. We’re going to ride this train as far as it goes.”
GW limped across the finish line of the regular season, losing four of its final six games. However, the Colonials outrebounded all three opponents in the tournament and got solid play from forward Pat Ngongba and reserves J.J. Brade and Francisco de Miranda.
Shawnta Rogers was the only GW player named to the All-Tournament Team. Torraye Braggs, Darnell Williams, Lenny Brown and James Posey, all from Xavier, also were named to the All-Tournament Team. Posey was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.
Forward Antxon Iturbe did not play in the tournament. Iturbe has missed six games with a stress fracture in his left foot.
Xavier 77, GW 63PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – Playing only its second A-10 championship game ever, and its first since 1991, GW could not overcome 33 percent shooting, 20 turnovers and poor foul shooting and lost to Xavier 77-63 Saturday.
The Musketeers garnered 23 points and seven rebounds from Posey and shut down GW’s offense to win its first A-10 Championship.
The game was just as physical as GW’s previous two games with Xavier. In Xavier’s 96-86 win Feb. 16, the teams combined for 73 fouls. Saturday, the teams committed a combined 53 fouls.
However, the Colonials could not capitalize, making only 58 percent of their free throws. Meanwhile, Xavier made 79 percent of its foul shots, including 24 free throws in the second half, when the Musketeers slowly opened up a double-digit lead.
Xavier led nearly the entire game, but GW closed to within five points on a three-pointer by Shawnta Rogers with 7:23 left in the game. The Colonials would get no closer.
Posey got open behind the GW defense for a layup, Braggs put back a missed shot and converted a layup to give the Musketeers a 59-48 lead with 5:30 remaining.
Center Alexander Koul then committed his fifth foul. King fouled out three minutes later, joining Brade, who had fouled out with 10:13 left in the game.
Then, one after another, Xavier players began going to the foul line and maintained their lead by making free throws.
Xavier put an exclamation point on its win with several dunks in the final minutes as its lead ballooned to as many as 15 points.
“They made more easy baskets and more free throws, it comes down to that,” Jarvis said. “We’ll learn from this loss, just as we’ve learned from every other.”
“When we get to the NCAA Tournament, we’ll do better than we did tonight,” King said.
GW’s offensive execution was not as good in the first half as it had been in the Colonials’ wins over Temple and UMass.
Koul opened the scoring with a layup in the first 15 seconds, but GW did not score for the next five minutes. The Colonials committed seven turnovers in the game’s first seven minutes. Xavier used the turnovers to open a 17-7 lead in the game’s first 10 minutes.
“We kept the pace of the game up-tempo, which is our pace,” Posey said. “We didn’t let them set up in the half court.”
Brown got King into foul trouble in the first half and held the freshman to just eight points.
“My job was to shut him down,” Brown said. “He hit those two free throws at their place, and we haven’t forgotten about that.”
Yegor Mescheriakov led GW with 15 points, but made only four of 14 shots.
GW 78, Temple 64PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – GW used a 16-2 run over the final five minutes to beat Temple 78-64 in the semifinals Friday.
The game was tied 62-62 with 5:35 remaining, but GW held the Owls to just one field goal the rest of the game. De Miranda started the Colonial run with a jump shot. Brade then drove the lane for a layup.
After a Brade free throw, Koul made a layup just as the shot clock buzzer went off. GW scored seven straight points and led 69-62.
Temple’s Keaton Sanders got a layup on a nice pass from point guard Pepe Sanchez to bring the Owls within five points with two minutes left. Those were the last points Temple would score.
Ngongba was credited with a basket on a goaltending call. Two possessions later, Ngongba got a steal, was fouled and made two free throws to give GW a 74-64 lead with a minute remaining.
“I do have a special group of kids, who learn from adversity and losses,” Jarvis said. “We didn’t want to give Temple put backs and tried to neutralize their three-point shooting,”
King led GW with 19 points and seven rebounds, and Koul had eight points, 13 rebounds and only one foul. The Colonials outrebounded the Owls 49-30 and shot 43 percent from the field.
“What are you going to do with Koul under the boards? They’re a great rebounding team,” Temple Coach John Chaney said.
Sanchez had successful shooting over the 5-4 Rogers early in the game, scoring 10 first-half points for Temple. However, Sanchez committed his second foul with 10 minutes left in the first half and spent long stretches of the second half on the bench with three fouls.
“When he’s off the floor, we suffer,” Chaney said of Sanchez.
The win was GW’s 24th of the season, tying a school record for wins. The 1954-55 Colonials were 24-6.
GW 88, UMass 83PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – Shawnta Rogers had a career-high 28 points, and Mike King added 18 points and seven rebounds to help GW defeat UMass in Thursday’s quarterfinal game.
GW trailed by eight points, 47-39, with 14:56 left in the game. The Colonials then went on a 17-2 run over the next five minutes to take a 56-49 lead with 10:15 left. But UMass came back. A free throw by Ajmal Basit brought the Minutemen within a point at 62-61 with 5:33 remaining.
The Colonials then raced off on an 11-2 run. Two free throws by Ngongba gave GW a 73-63 lead with 2:42 left. But UMass did not quit, hitting four three-pointers in the final minute to make the score close. Rogers made four free throws in the final 15 seconds to secure the win.
Brade, de Miranda and Ngongba combined for 26 points and eight rebounds.
“Those guys played well, they were the difference in the game,” UMass coach “Bruiser” Flint said. “You look for Mike King and Shawnta Rogers to do their thing, but those guys came in and played a big part.”