Ben Krimmel, a senior majoring in international affairs, is a Hatchet columnist.
On a night when the premier rivalry in college basketball — Duke vs. North Carolina — was called off due to snow, the Colonials must have wished they got the same fate. Taking on Atlantic 10 rival VCU would be nothing but tough sledding, even though they had soundly beaten the rival before.
Wednesday night’s snow forecast for Foggy Bottom was for 5-10 inches. The basketball forecast for the Colonials in Richmond was for an avalanche of turnovers: 14 in the first half and 22 for the game.
The game billed as an A-10 showdown never materialized. The best way to describe GW’s performance would be in terms found in horse racing’s Daily Racing Form: slow to start, brief fight back, no factor.
The Colonials showed moments of second-half heart, cutting the lead to five at one point, but it was quickly extended back to a comfortable lead for the Rams.
GW was treated to the type of beat-down that is normally dished out to Smith Center visitors. It was not pretty.
The Colonials offense at times was sputtering and clunking up and down the floor like a car in need of a new transmission. Intermittent points of functionality were punctuated with countless stretches of terrible frustration that was punctuated with head coach Mike Lonergan’s ejection.
Lonergan’s frustration at the officials was apparent from the word go. With the “Havoc” defense tormenting the Colonials in the backcourt, Lonergan was there haranguing the officials for foul calls from the bench. In the game’s closing moments, the GW head coach had seen enough and the referees had heard enough.
Hopes were dashed for an exclamation mark win in one of the tough environments in the A-10 against one of the A-10’s best squads. Fortunately for Lonergan, there’s another game right around the corner. Hopes for postseason play remain with six regular season games remaining.
When the Minutemen of UMass visit the District Saturday, the Colonials desire collective and selective amnesia. Forget the poor outside shooting during the VCU game’s opening interval and much of the rest of the second half.
While the Colonials have vastly exceeded their modest preseason expectations of relevancy, a late-season stumble could still spoil the most memorable season since 2006.
Thanks to strong leadership and a base of eager youngsters, GW is without back-to-back losses this season. Rebounding is something GW has done well and collapse seems highly unlikely.
GW won’t need any extra reminding from their head coach to take the pain from a 17-point gut-punch and use it as motivation headed into the season’s home stretch.