Saturday, February 9, 2013

Colonials Shoot 28%, Lose to #14 Butler

GW's Joe McDonald scores 10 with 0 assists

The George Washington Colonials played host to their highest ranked opponent in over a decade, but lost to #14 Butler before a sold-out Homecoming crowd this afternoon at Charles E. Smith Center 59-56. Dismal shooting (28%, 8.3% 3-pointers) and a total lack of team offense ruined a stellar defensive effort that forced 19 visitor turnovers. That same defense spurred a furious comeback from a 17-point deficit with 12:02 left in the game; but Joe McDonald and Nemanja Mikic missed game-tying three-pointers with 14 and seven seconds remaining, sealing defeat.

Butler (20-4, 7-2 A-10) has one of the top basketball programs in the country, but looked vulnerable in winning their 20th game of the season. Even a half-decent offensive effort by GW could have given the Colonials a much needed win (GW had won four of their last five, before today's loss.) I realize I'm a tough critic (that comes with being a longtime season-ticket holder) but it boils my blood to watch wasted opportunities... almost always on the offensive end. Coach Mike Lonergan seemingly refuses to call any corner threes, in effect reducing his team's offensive real estate. This results in countless rushed shots, not to mention one on one, one on two and one on three drives to the basket. Despite shooting only 30% from beyond the arc this season, you have to shoot more... in order to open up the rest of the court. Truth be told, I hate the Colonials' offensive game plan (whatever it is.)

As much as I dislike their offense, I love GW's max effort on defense. Holding Butler to 38% shooting should have been the story of the game (along with their 19 turnovers.) Coming back from 17 down in the second half is a remarkable feat, especially against a nationally ranked team that has already defeated Gonzaga, top-ranked Indiana, Marquette and North Carolina this season. Senior Lasan Kromah continued his pick-pocketing prowess, accounting for three steals in addition to 10 points and 5 rebounds off the bench. Why isn't he shooting a game-tying attempt instead of Mikic (0-4, 0-3 treys?)

Brad Stevens watches Butler improve to 20-4 (7-2 A-10)

The Bulldogs out-rebounded GW 46-41 in a battle of the two top rebounding teams in the A-10. Senior Isaiah Armwood led the Colonials with 11 boards: He also posted his seventh double-double of the season, scoring 14 points in 37 minutes. Both teams struggled with assists (13 combined.) Whatever happened to multiple passes, setting up open shots?

Scrappy (is he really 6' tall?) point guard Rotnei Clarke led Butler with 14 points and four assists (he also chipped in with five rebounds.) Roosevelt Jones added 12 points and seven boards. GW held Butler center Andrew Smith in check the entire game: Smith scored just six points on 2-8 shooting with five rebounds before fouling out with 4:52 remaining.

The Colonials have a week off to recover, before traveling to VCU (19-5, 7-2 A-10) for another key matchup next Saturday. GW returns home on Wednesday, February 20th to host Fordham (6-18, 0-12 on the road.)

Click here for today's box score.