While the GW men’s basketball team’s 106-45 win over Randolph Macon College Wednesday showed how dominant the Colonials can be on both ends of the floor, head coach Karl Hobbs knew its outcome does not mean much in the grand scheme of things.
No exhibition game, Hobbs said, especially one against a Division III opponent, could adequately prepare the GW men’s basketball team for its first regular season task. No opponent, especially in the pre-season, could match the talent and intensity level of No. 2 (Associated Press) Wake Forest University, who the Colonials will face on the road Monday at 7 p.m.
“I’m not sure what we can take from (Wednesday’s exhibition),” Hobbs said. “Because to be honest with you, what we will face on Monday will be entirely different in every phase in terms of size speed and the whole nine yards.”
What Hobbs can take from the win is obvious – a dominant performance against an overmatched opponent.
A Smith Center crowd of 2,752 watched the Colonials trample the Division III Yellow Jackets with a barrage of three-pointers (10), lay-ups and dunks. Predictably, GW played effective pressure defense, forcing 24 Macon turnovers and holding the Jackets to less than 31 percent shooting. Six Colonials finished in double figures as sophomore guard J.R. Pinnock led all scorers with 17 points.
In the future, Hobbs said, he and his coaching staff must evaluate how they schedule the exhibition season in order to better prepare his team for regular season play. Last Saturday, the Colonials opened their season with a closed scrimmage at Villanova University.
“The question is for me, in retrospect, is if we were better off finding an (Atlantic Coast Conference) team to scrimmage,” Hobbs said. “I think next year we really have to scrutinize the exhibition schedule. Are we better off playing two scrimmages against two, nothing against Randolph Macon, quality opponents?”
The problem, he added, is that powers like University of Connecticut and University of Maryland can draw over 10,000 fans for exhibition games, and as a result, they shy away from closed scrimmages that would not produce revenue from ticket sales.
Regardless of which opponents the Colonials face in the pre-season, junior forward Mike Hall said any outside competition will help get his team ready for the regular season.
“We just took (Wednesday’s game) as a dress rehearsal to work on execution,” said Hall, who scored 11 points. “We worked on things we can’t work on in practice, fine tuning things for Monday.”
However, Hall added that the Yellow Jackets just did not have the means to give the Colonials a taste of what they will face Monday.
“Given the talent that (Wake Forest’s) guards have … Wake Forest is a special team and I don’t think anybody can simulate that.”
GW’s guards also make up a talented group, with Pinnock and fellow sophomore Carl Elliott (16 points) set to play vital roles in curtailing the Deacons’ high powered offense. If Wednesday night’s game is any indication, freshman guard Maureece Rice could be a key player off the bench.
Rice made an auspicious debut at the Smith Center, going 5-for-6 from the field, scoring 12 points and adding two assists, including a smooth alley-oop pass to junior forward Pops Mensah-Bonsu in the first half.
“I thought (Rice) was really terrific,” Hobbs said. “I thought he took great shots, he played within himself, he didn’t try to do things that were uncharacteristic of him. I’m just at times amazed of his level of maturity and how he plays the game. He plays at a comfortable speed just like his personality. He’s really a comfortable kid.”
Mensah-Bonsu also had a strong offensive game, scoring 11 points for the Colonials, who began the game on a 14-4 run and never looked back.
In the closing minutes of the blowout, the crowd started the most audible chant of the night.
“We want Wake!” they yelled.