Saturday, February 2, 2013

Attack of the Killer Threes

La Salle's Tyreek Duren (3) breaks down GW defense

The George Washington Colonials acknowledged Armed Forces Day with a defenseless effort against A-10 rival La Salle, losing 80-71 before a crowd of 3,347 at the Charles E. Smith Center. Despite having a week off since their 82-54 thumping over Charlotte, the Colonials looked dazed and confused on offense, while coughing up a season-high 11 three-pointers to a team that averages 6.8 a game.

The loss evened GW's record at 10-10 (4-3 in conference) while the Explorers improved to 15-6 and 5-3. The Colonials seemed poised to head into next week's Homecoming game versus #9 Butler with momentum on their side (GW visits hapless Duquesne on Wednesday) but they came out completely flat against a La Salle team that defeated Butler less than two weeks ago. The Explorers raced out to leads of 12-3 and 31-16 in a first half that featured 7 of 14 shooting from beyond the arc. To make matters worse, GW committed 10 turnovers (compared to just 3 for La Salle.)

Head coach Mike Lonergan appeared helpless to counter La Salle's superior perimeter play, switching from zones to traps with equal futility. In fact, some of the Colonials D actually encouraged open threes. As good a job as he did coaching last week, Lonergan was just plain bad today. He continues to overcoach, often yelling at his players to do this and that during play, instead of letting them focus on the court. If you have to smother your players during the game, then you're not doing your job during practice. Call the play, then sit down. If your guys don't follow through, then remind them during a time out or after the game. At this point in the season, the players should know the plays.

Isaiah Armwood led GW with 17 points and 9 rebounds

Speaking of plays, can someone design one that opens up a corner three? Outside of back-to-back treys by Isaiah Armwood (pictured above) late in the game, the Colonials shot 1 of 9 from three-point territory. Speaking of Armwood, my favorite Colonial continues to excel: The 6'9 senior led his team in scoring (17) rebounds (9) and blocks (3) not to mention the aforementioned treys, the second of which cut La Salle's one-time 20 point lead to just five with over two minutes remaining.

Supposed shooting specialist Nemanja Mikic finished with 0 points in 14 minutes, and continues to prove incapable of shooting anything but an open jumper, which he misses with great regularity (Mikic's 32.9 FG% is second-lowest on the team behind senior Bryan Bynes, who can at least create his own shot.) My usual target of blame, Kevin Larsen actually performed well today, scoring 10 points on 4-5 shooting in 19 minutes, but grabbed only one rebound. Freshman Patricio Garino and senior Dwayne Smith each scored 11 points in a losing cause. Kudos to both for staying aggressive (especially on offense) throughout.

USAF Honor Guard performs at halftime

Ramon Galloway and D.J. Peterson each scored 15 points to lead six La Salle players in double figures. Peterson was especially proficient, hitting five of six three-pointers.

Click here for today's box score.