Ben Krimmel, a senior majoring in international affairs, is a Hatchet columnist.
While senior Isaiah “Zeek” Armwood gets top billing in the “Zeek and Creek Show,” let’s face one 6-foot-5 fact: The Colonials’ chances of reaching the Promised Land of March Madness depend on the three-point shooting of Maurice Creek.
For Creek, this is no easy task. In fact, it is a gargantuan one. Three-point shooting can be inconsistent, and teams that live and die by the three-pointer often end up sentenced to death by continuous clunkers.
Luckily for Creek — a pure-shooter with NBA range — senior Nemanja Mikic is there to share the burden as part of GW’s outside shooting duo that is nailing 52.7 percent of shots from beyond the arc.
But what happens when Creek and Mikic go cold? Whether it’s tonight against Delaware State, next week in the Wooden Legacy tournament or in Atlantic 10 games, it’s bound to happen.
I hope head coach Mike Lonergan has some plans up his sleeve or GW will not live up to burgeoning early-season hopes to escape national irrelevance.
The challenge facing Lonergan is beating the zone defense GW will be seeing a lot of this season if the early games are any representation of what’s ahead. Manhattan went exclusively zone Saturday night, and for the first half, the Jaspers 3-2 defense created a lot of problems for the GW offense.
The Colonials offense is built around getting the ball to the high post and creating open outside shooting opportunities. Last Saturday when GW was in need of a bucket, the Colonials went to their bread-and-butter play: Kethan Savage passed to Kevin Larsen in post, and as Manhattan went to double team, the sophomore found Maurice Creek for an open three.
However, GW needs to find a Plan B when the three pointers aren’t falling.
So far, the team has found success in the screen and curl — a staple of the flex offense — that created open 15-foot jumpers against the zone defenses of Maine and Manhattan.
The curl was a staple of Gary Williams’ offense at Maryland and was best run by guard Juan Dixon during the Terps’ 2002 march to the national title. And while it’d be foolish to put Dixon and Creek on the same level, I would bet my GW Deli lunch money that Lonergan has shown his best shooter a Dixon highlight reel.
While the curl can be a great way to get buckets, GW still lacks a guard that has shown the ability to break down the defense and get penetration on the drive. Savage is the only player who has gotten to the basket in the half-court offense – and only on a handful of occasions.
Now, am I nitpicking too much with a 3-0 team averaging 88 points on offense? Yes.
But if GW is going to turn a good start into a good year, they are going to need more than a shooters touch and a friendly roll from the iron, making the search for Plan B the top priority.