Five minutes into the first half of GW’s 79-56 win over the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore Tuesday night, sophomore forward Cheyenne Moore stepped onto the Smith Center court to play in a game for the first time.
This season, the Baltimore native had yet to check into a contest as he nursed a stress fracture in his left tibia.
Moore joins a frontcourt that includes sophomore Rob Diggs, senior Regis Koundjia, senior Dokun Akingbade and freshman Damian Hollis. The much-anticipated debut of the Clemson transfer lasted a mere two minutes until Moore left the game for good. His appearance, coupled with an improved frontcourt performance on Tuesday, brought optimism that GW’s forwards have started to find their rhythm.
“The thing that I have been most impressed with is (Rob Diggs’) shot-blocking ability,” said head coach Karl Hobbs Tuesday after Diggs rejected a career-high seven shots in addition to 16 points. “I think he is coming along. He’s really stepping up his game. He’s a terrific scorer and … as athletic as any guy we are going to play.”
“I thought (Damian Hollis) played real well today,” said Hobbs of his freshman’s career-high eight-point showing against UMES. “He was more relaxed when he got the basketball. He was more aggressive.” Hollis also added two rebounds and one block in the 14 minutes he played Tuesday, the most time he has seen in any game so far this season.
The Hawks captured a short-lived lead in the early stages of the first half and kept pace with the Colonials throughout the first frame. UMES shot a tick below 43 percent from the field in the first half, aided by 20 points in the paint. In the second period, the Hawks could not crack GW’s interior defense as easily, scoring 10 points in the paint and shooting a notch above 37 percent. The Colonials recorded 11 blocked shots and out-rebounded UMES by 7, both second-best totals this year.
“I was happy with (our rebounding) tonight,” said Hobbs. “It’s an on-going thing for us, because our size has not changed; we’re still relatively small in comparison to some of the more physical big teams. … That’s a weakness for us.”
Koundjia, Diggs and Akingbade have led the way for GW in this facet of the game, averaging 6.3, 5.9 and 5.6 rebounds per game, respectively. Guards Carl Elliott and Maureece Rice did their share by grabbing a combined 12 rebounds Tuesday. Increased minutes for Hollis and, eventually, Moore could bolster the Colonials’ rebounding ability.