Streaks hurt GW in big games

Basketball is a game of runs, but it’s beginning to get out of hand. Xavier’s 22-4 run during Tuesday night’s game at the Smith Center was just the latest installment in GW’s season-long trend of allowing opponents to go on game-breaking tears.

The numbers don’t lie: Providence College went on a 30-10 run and the University of South Florida went on a 19-7 spurt. GW gave similar runs to University of Tennessee (20-4), Charlotte (16-4) and Massachusetts (26-5). Six runs produced six losses, leaving many to wonder why GW is so susceptible to streaks.

“It’s a combination of many things,” GW coach Tom Penders said. “We go dry offensively at times. We turn the ball over, giving teams some real easy scoring opportunities in transition. It’s a lot of different things.”

Even the greatest of defenses cannot stop a team during a run when it is clicking on all offensive cylinders. GW’s offensive troubles during streaks step from players’ poor shot selection. Against Xavier, GW shot only 29 percent from behind the arc (9-for-31). Three pointers are not necessarily bad shots, but the Colonials show tendencies to live and die from the outside. GW did have 23 assists that led to numerous lay-ups and a season-high 55 percent shooting against La Salle Saturday. Against the Musketeers, the Colonials had only 12 assists and shot 44 percent (29-for-66).

“We’re just not consistent and efficient offensively,” Penders said. “There were times during (Xavier’s run) where we had some incredible wide open looks that we just didn’t knock down.”

Despite these tough runs, GW was able to stay close to all six solid teams. Providence and South Florida have identical 11-4 records. Tennessee is a national-title contender, Charlotte received top 25 votes before injuries sent them reeling and Massachusetts, which has defeated Xavier on the road, holds the fourth-toughest schedule in the country.

“All those teams are pretty good basketball teams,” Penders said. “And sometimes you have to give the other team some credit for what they do.”

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