WEB EXCLUSIVE: Hobbs uses Smith Center finale to end losing streak

Karl Hobbs and his Colonials ended a 10-game losing streak by defeating Richmond 53-49 on Senior Day at the Smith Center. The win, perhaps the sweetest yet this year, comes two days after the Colonials worst loss of the season, a 30-point beating by visiting Dayton. The Colonials gave up 40 fewer points against Richmond (15-12 overall, 9-5 A-10) than they did against Dayton just two days earlier.

Hobbs, in his first year as coach and last game of the year at the Smith Center, addressed the fans afterwards, thanking them for sticking it out during the losing streak.

“I just feel very, very excited for the players,” said Hobbs in his post-game press conference. “They deserve a win. One of the things we talked about today was, last game the students hung in there and we got a pretty good whipping. And, I told the players there’s no way we can let these fans come back today to watch this game and we don’t give them a win. We played for our fans and we played for our seniors and we wanted to make sure that we gave a tremendous effort today and I thought we did.”

For the first time in six games, the Colonials out-rebounded an opponent (37-31). GW played solid defense throughout the game, holding the Spiders to 30 percent shooting from the field (15-for-50). The Colonials (11-15 overall, 4-11 A-10) tenacity on defense allowed them to hold off a late Spiders charge.

“They played great today,” Richmond head coach John Beilein said. “They played tremendous defense, and we didn’t play so well and it was because of GW.”

Chris Monroe led the Colonials with 20 points on 5-for-11 shooting, and grabbed eight rebounds. Senior Jaason Smith, in his final home game, scored seven points on 3-for-10 shooting and grabbed a game high 11 rebounds.

Mike Skrocki led the Spiders, scoring 20 points on 6-for-13 shooting. GW was able to hold Richmond’s top scorer Reggie Brown (13.5 points per game) to two points on 0-for-15 shooting.

With 34 seconds remaining in the game, Monroe scored after grabbing an offensive rebound on a missed three-pointer by Greg Collucci, lifting GW by four.

Brown missed an easy lay-up with 20 seconds left, but Jeff Myers pulled down the rebound and kicked it out to Scott Ungerer who missed a three-pointer. Again Richmond grabbed on offensive rebound and again they missed a three-point attempt. After the third miss by the Spiders, Monroe grabbed a rebound with 11 seconds left to ensure the Colonials of their first victory since Jan. 13.

The two teams traded leads throughout the first half, with Richmond never holding more than a five-point lead and GW never holding more than a 3-point lead.

With just under eight minutes remaining in the first half, Monroe hit a short leaner in the lane to give GW a 16-15 lead. The Colonials never trailed the rest of the game. The teams went to the locker room tied at 23 apiece after Myers hit a baseline jumper with four seconds to go in the half.

GW went on a 19-6 run to start the second half. T.J. Thompson found Monroe under the basket for an easy lay up with eight-and-a-half minutes to go to put the Colonials up 42-29. During the run, Richmond shot 2-for-16 from the field.

GW couldn’t maintain its double-digit lead. Richmond cut the lead to two with just under a minute to go when Skrocki hit a three-pointer.

The Colonials wrap up the season next week on the road at Fordham (8-16 overall, 4-9 A-10).

“We just have to go in there and play hard and play as a team like we did (against Richmond),” Smith said.

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