Posted Saturday, Jan. 3, 11:15 p.m.
St. Joseph’s guard Jameer Nelson could not do much last January in his team’s 74-68 loss to the GW men’s basketball team. In that game, the eight-time A-10 player of the week scored only eight points on 2-for-10 shooting.
Almost a year later, Nelson got some payback by racking up 29 points in his team’s 90-81 win over the Colonials Saturday afternoon in front of 3,200 fans at Alumni Memorial Field House in Philadelphia. GW kept the score close for the majority of the game, shooting a respectable 41.4 percent from the field, but could not clamp down defensively. St. Joe’s shot nearly 74 percent from the field in the second half and 64 percent for the game.
The No. 10 (Associated Press) Hawks are off to a school record 11-0 start this year, while the Colonials (6-6) lost their fourth straight game on a four-game road trip. The squad should be happy to get back to the District for a home game against Temple Wednesday before heading north for a game against Massachusetts on Saturday.
In addition to Nelson’s usual stellar play, the Hawks got help from center Dwayne Jones, who scored 23 points on 8-for-10 shooting. Jones took advantage of the Colonials’ porous interior defense, scoring most of his points on lay-ups and dunks. The Hawks outscored the Colonials 36-28 in the paint.
Nelson’s backcourt mate, Delonte West, added 18 points for the Hawks, who took control of the game early in the second half. Leading 46-42 after the break, St. Joe’s went on a 15-9 run to build a 61-51 lead five minutes into the second.
The Hawks extended their lead to 67-55, but the Colonials responded with an 11-4 run to cut the lead to 71-66 with 10:04 left. That was as close as GW would get, as the Hawks came back with a 10-4 run to build an 82-70 lead and seal the game with five minutes to play.
Hobbs made frequent substitutions in the second half, as a number of his players were in foul trouble. Freshman J.R. Pinnock fouled out in only 19 minutes of work and Omar Williams, Carl Elliott and Pops Mensah-Bonsu each had four fouls.
Elliott led GW scorers with 18 points and Mensah-Bonsu had a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds.
Like most of last year’s game, the first half was very close, as St. Joe’s could not pull away from GW. After West’s three-pointer gave the Hawks a 22-14 lead with 13:32 remaining in the first, the Colonials went on a 9-2 run to make the game 24-23 in favor of St. Joe’s. The Hawks did not extend their lead to more than six points before intermission and went into the break up 46-42.
Nelson looked sharp right off the bat, scoring 17 first-half points for St. Joe’s. Mensah-Bonsu led GW scorers with 11 points in the first half.
Monday, Dec. 29
Texas 88, GW 72
The nationally ranked Gonzaga University Bulldogs used a strong inside attack to defeat the GW men’s basketball team 96-91 in early December. Nearly a month later, another Top 25 opponent followed the Bulldogs’ example to produce a much more lopsided result.
The No. 19 (Associated Press) University of Texas Longhorns outscored GW 44-16 in the paint in their 88-72 victory over the Colonials Monday Night in Austin, and Texas’s domination carried over to other aspects of the game as well. Texas had a 45-31 advantage on the boards and shot over 53 percent from the field, fifteen points better than GW’s 38.1 percent for the game.
The Colonials have lost three in a row on the road and will travel to Philadelphia for a Jan. 3 match-up with No. 10 St. Joseph’s. The Hawks and guard Jameer Nelson will have the chance to avenge last year’s loss to the Colonials at the Smith Center.
Over 9,000 fans at the Erwin Center watched Texas freshman forward P.J. Tucker put up 27 points and 15 rebounds in 33 minutes of work. Tucker got some help from fellow freshman Kenny Taylor, who scored 19 points and was 5-for-11 from beyond the arc.
“P.J. Tucker dominated the game,” GW head coach Karl Hobbs told the AP. “He was truly the difference.”
GW three-point specialist Greg Collucci had his best offensive game of the season, hitting seven long range jumpers and finishing with a season-high 23 points. Many of his three-point attempts came with the Colonials down by double digits – a predicament they faced for most of the game.
The Colonials were sluggish out of the gate one week after their overtime defeat to Fairfield University. The Longhorns took an early 11-0 lead in the first half and the Colonials did not score until freshman Carl Elliot’s three-pointer five minutes into the game made the score 11-3. GW hung around, at one point trailing only 13-9 with less than thirteen minutes to go in the half.
But after allowing GW to get back into the game, the Longhorns promptly went on a 19-3 run to build a 32-12 lead with 7:29 left in the half. The Colonials were able cut the lead to 32-19 two minutes later but Texas finished off the half on a 13-7 run to extend their lead to 45-26 at the break.
Tucker scored 13 of his 27 points in sixteen first half minutes. The rest of the Longhorns shot 44.1 from the field in the first while GW struggled shooting the basketball, making only 7 out of 29 field goal attempts (24 percent) for the half.
The Colonials trailed by 19 at halftime and did not come any closer than 12 in the second half. Ahead 62-50 with 10:18 left in the game, Texas mounted a 25-3 run over the next five minutes to build a 77-53 lead with under five minutes to go.
Tuesday, Dec. 23
Fairfield 75, GW 67 (OT)
It seems that ghosts of the past are visiting the GW men’s basketball team as Christmas approaches. Much like during last season, the Colonials are having trouble winning games on the road, with the latest loss coming Tuesday evening at Fairfield University in Bridgeport, Conn.
Furthermore, two of the team’s biggest problem areas this year, holding onto leads and the ball, hit a low point in GW’s 75-67 overtime loss to the Stags (5-1). The Colonials (6-4) led by 17 with under nine minutes remaining and by eight with just 30 seconds left but still managed to lose, turning the ball over 25 times in the process.
The loss was GW’s third straight away from home and second straight overall. The Colonials have dropped four out of their last six games and have a tough road ahead with their next two games at the University of Texas December 29 and at St. Joseph’s Jan. 3.
GW led 50-33 with 8:57 left in the game and appeared headed to victory even after the Stags cut the lead to eight with under a minute to play. In the game’s final thirty seconds, though, head coach Karl Hobbs watched his team’s 64-56 lead quickly melt away, mainly at the hands of Fairfield guard Terrence Todd, who led all scorers with 21 points.
With 32 seconds remaining, Todd stole the ball from GW junior T.J. Thompson and made a quick lay-up. Another steal by Todd and a lay-up from DeWitt Maxwell cut the GW lead to 64-60 with 20 seconds to go. Todd scored again after a turnover by GW sophomore Mike Hall with 12 seconds left to cut the lead to 64-62.
Thompson still had a chance to seal the game for the Colonials but made only one of two free throws to give his team a 65-62 advantage. Todd then hit a three-pointer with 1.6 seconds remaining that tied the game, 65-65, and capped off a 22-4 Fairfield run to force overtime.
The Stags dominated the overtime period, outscoring the Colonials 10-2. Junior Tamal Forchion scored GW’s only basket in the extra frame, which did not come until the 1:14 mark.
The Colonials led 28-22 after a see-saw first half and jumped out to a seemingly comfortable 47-33 lead in the second frame before Fairfield stormed back with under 10 minutes left.
Thompson led GW with 15 points and Hall added 13 in the loss.
Saturday, Dec. 20
Old Dominion 72, GW 62
Men’s basketball head coach Karl Hobbs said last week that the Colonials’ upcoming stretch of away games could determine his team’s fate this season. Now, he can only hope Saturday’s 72-62 loss to Old Dominion was a small stumbling block, not an indication of an upcoming swoon.
Following the trend this season, the Colonials (6-3) squandered an early lead and had trouble taking care of the ball in front of 4,832 at the Ted Constant Center in Norfolk, Va. GW had a 26-16 lead with 8:02 left in the first half but went into the break up 35-34 and finished the game with 22 turnovers. Old Dominion shot just under 49 percent for the game and over 59 percent in the second half, which helped the Monarchs build a commanding lead over the Colonials (40 percent shooting for the game).
According to an internet report, Hobbs expressed disappointment in his team after the game.
“We lost to a better basketball team tonight,” he said. “We lost to a team that had more pride. We lost to a team that had more determination. They played like this was a championship game and I admire them for that.”
Old Dominion took control with under 12 minutes left in the second half. The Colonials trailed 49-48 at the 13:54 mark when the Monarchs began an 8-2 run that put GW down 55-48 at the 11:54 mark. The Monarchs built a 59-50 lead with 9:19 to play and fought off GW’s comeback attempts late in the game, as the Colonials cut the lead to four with less than four minutes to go in the game. But Old Dominion finished with a 6-0 run to win 72-62.
The Monarchs’ John Waller knocked down five three-pointers and led all scorers with 23 points on 9-for-15 shooting. Alex Loughton also had a double-double for Old Dominion, scoring 20 points and pulling down 10 rebounds.
Sophomore Pops Mensah-Bonsu was a bright spot for the Colonials, who have lost two straight away games after a season-opening road win over the University of North Carolina-Charlotte. The sophomore forward again displayed his offensive efficiency by scoring 17 points on 8-for-9 shooting and ranks among the NCAA leaders in field goal percentage.
Freshman guard Ricky Lucas had 15 points and sophomore forward Omar Williams scored 11 in the loss.
GW travels to Bridgeport, Conn. for a game against Fairfield University on Tuesday. The Colonials have a tough road ahead with games at the University of Texas and at St. Joseph’s looming in the next few weeks.
Wednesday, Dec. 10
GW 76, Towson 57
After a 76-57 win over Towson University Wednesday night at the Smith Center, the GW men’s basketball team is off to its best start in six years. The last time the team started 6-2 was during the 1997-98 season, when Mike Jarvis coached the Colonials to a 24-9 record and an NCAA Tournament appearance.
But senior Greg Collucci, who finished with a season-high 14 points in the game, said the Colonials still have a long way to go.
“I know it can fall apart really quickly,” he said Wednesday night after scoring a season-high 14 points in GW’s 76-57 win over Towson University in front of 2,471 at the Smith Center. “You can’t rest on it. There are no freebie games.”
With four straight road games starting December 20, keeping their momentum going won’t be easy for Collucci and the rest of the Colonials, who went just 5-10 on the road last season.
GW Head Coach Karl Hobbs said he was pleased with his team’s dominant performance against Towson (2-3) but said his club needs to vastly improve if it is going to be successful during a stretch in the next month that includes road games against Old Dominion University Dec. 20, No. 6 (Associated Press) University of Texas Dec. 29 and No. 15 St. Joseph’s Jan. 3.
“These next few games are very important,” he said. “They could dictate what our fate is this season.”
Towson shot nearly 40 percent against GW, a number Hobbs said his team needs to be whittled down to about 36 or 37 percent in order to win consistently.
“I’ll worry to death about the things that went wrong in the game tonight” he said. “We’re not a good basketball team yet.”
Hobbs also said his team needs take better care of the basketball, especially on the road. The Colonials had 15 turnovers Wednesday, a number he said should not get any higher.
“I’ll take 15 turnovers provided they don’t come in the last few possessions of a game when we’re up a point,” Hobbs said, referring to the Colonials’ late collapse at Appalachian State University last week.
GW’s turnover total had no real bearing Wednesday night, as the Colonials opened the game on a 10-3 run and never looked back. Towson committed 11 turnovers in the first half that led to 17 points for the Colonials, who built a 27-17 lead with 6:55 left before intermission. A trademark barrage of dunks and lay-ups extended the GW lead to 41-21 at the half. Not one GW player had double figures in scoring in the first half despite the team scoring 41 points.
The Colonials continued to increase their lead in the second half, building a 64-34 advantage with 10 minutes to go in the game. Towson made a few dents in the lead but could not cut it to less than a sixteen-point GW advantage the rest of the way.
GW shot just under 58 percent from the field, outscoring Towson 40-24 in the paint and finishing with four players in double figures. In addition to Collucci’s 14, junior T.J. Thompson had a team-high 15, freshman Ricky Lucas had 11 and sophomore Omar Williams had 11, including an alley-oop from point guard Lafonte Johnson that energized the crowd late in the first half.
This article appeared in the December 8, 2003 issue of the Hatchet.