Practice makes perfect
In between the Colonials’ embarrassing 19-point loss at Xavier and their Saturday last-second win over Dayton, they had two days to let the loss settle in their minds. Coach Karl Hobbs said he ran his hardest two practices of the year on Thursday and Friday.
“No one was smiling,” Hobbs added. “No one liked one another and we went after each other, and I thought that’s how we played tonight.”
Hobbs tries to stay calm
On Saturday, Hobbs’ emotions were at a high. At one point, he drew a technical foul in the second half and later had to walk off the court to regain his emotions. Then, after sophomore Carl Elliott sank the game winner, he left the court with tears in his eyes.
“I go into every game saying I’m going to relax,” Hobbs said. “I think the team likes to see me like that.”
Hobbs asked Elliott and junior Mike Hall which coach he should strive to be like on the sidelines. At first, the players said Jim Calhoun, who Hobbs coached under in the ’90s.
But after Hobbs laughed that one off, Hall suggested Larry Brown – a man who calls out plays and at the same time, can keep his cool.
Gregory lauds Hall
Dayton coach Brian Gregory said there are about five players in the Atlantic 10 that he would like to coach. He mentioned Justin Cage of Xavier and Hall, who scored 19 points and grabbed 10 boards Saturday.
“They are warriors,” Gregory said. “You have to have guys like that on your team if you want to be successful. Guys like that make plays for you.”
GW junior power forward Pops Mensah-Bonsu played his first full game without his protective mask on Saturday. He had nine points on the day. Dayton was physical with Mensah-Bonsu in the paint all day, and he was sloppy with the ball, committing several turnovers.
Mensah-Bonsu broke his nose when Xavier visited the Smith Center in January.
GW survives tough crowd
Since Dayton’s entrance into the Atlantic 10 in 1996, the Colonials have faced them 19 times, winning 11. But the UD Arena is a place that the Colonials have only won three times, losing the other six by an average of more than 12 points.
Xavier assistant coach Monte Mathis, whose team beat GW handily last week, said the Musketeers’ Cintas Center pales in comparison to the UD Arena.
“If (GW) thought our place was tough,” he said from his office Thursday, “The crowd there sounds like a jet engine.”
-Alan Siegel contributed to this report.