The GW men’s basketball team is currently 12-10 overall and 2-7 in the Atlantic 10 Conference: good enough for 12th place. Up to this point, it has been a season full of inconsistencies, in which the team has performed wonderfully at times and then has had some tough home losses to teams such as Xavier, Richmond and Duquesne. These games have either been close or ones in which we ended up losing the lead at the very end. While the Colonials kept it close or led for most of the game, the team just could not finish strong in the final minutes.
This isn’t just something that has only occurred on our home court, though. On the road, the team had the opportunity to get huge conference wins at Rhode Island and Charlotte over the last few weeks. But again, they just couldn’t seem to close the game successfully. While the players played really hard for most of the game, both games were lost in the last few minutes of regulation.
All of these losses are extremely significant, mainly because most analysts predict both Rhode Island and Charlotte, along with Xavier and Richmond, will appear in the NCAA Tournament as representatives of our conference. If we were able to beat at least one or two of these teams, it could have given the program a huge boost not only in our conference, but also in the national eye.
In all of the games, along with the La Salle game in which we also lost the lead at the end, there has been one consistent factor: inconsistency on offense. While the team has sometimes come out with a quick start, or has done a good job of scoring points efficiently in spurts during the game, the offense seems to disappear when push comes to shove in the final minutes. For example, in the game against Charlotte, we were leading 17-6 in the first four minutes of the game. But after those first few minutes, the offense never seemed to regain that rhythm, eventually falling 72-68 against the No. 3 team in our conference.
Obviously, this inconsistency needs to be addressed by the coaching staff. After watching the team lose to Xavier and then comparing that to more recent games, head coach Karl Hobbs has addressed the situation. In each and every game since then, the team has showed improvement in some way. The perimeter defense has improved, shots have begun to fall and we’ve also begun to rebound well.
But one thing I noticed during the game in Charlotte was that while the team played well on defense in the closing minutes, they seemed to forget what to do on offense. Execution late in the game is key. If the Colonials can execute successfully on offense in the last few minutes of the game, they will pose a serious threat to other teams in the conference.
While this inconsistency has plagued the team during conference play this season, it is a significant improvement from last year, when the team was often blown out or was never even in the game from the beginning of regulation. Another thing to keep in mind is that all of this is a valuable learning experience for our extremely young squad. With so many underclassmen, playing the toughest teams in our conference early on in the season does have a positive effect. It has helped prepare the players mentally not just for next season, but for the upcoming A-10 Tournament, which I believe the team still has a high chance of making.
So while it seems as though this season that started off with a bang has come to a screeching halt, it is in fact still full of promise. This team has a lot of talent and all of the players play with a lot of heart each and every game. And though some of the games haven’t been perfect, and the end result hasn’t looked as pretty as we may want it to look, the future is bright. The Colonials are not just a threat, but a rising star in the A-10.
The writer, a sophomore majoring in international affairs, is a Hatchet columnist.
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