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Saturday, January 18, 2014

Eighteen Games Deep: A fan’s perspective on the resurgence of GW Hoops

    It was another nailbiter, but GW Men’s Basketball continues to march on to victory.

    This evening, GW won their 15th game in small town Olean, New York, against the Bonnies of St. Bonaventure University. The packed Reilly Centre was treated to a seesaw game, with GW and St. Bonaventure throwing the lead back and forth for most of the game. GW would eventually pull away at the end and win by a final score of 79-71.

    It’s been a wild ride for GW fans like myself. The Colonials were a sub-500 team last year. They squeaked into the A-10 tournament and lost a heartbreaker to the Minutemen of Massachusetts.
    But hope could be felt. Many games in the 2012-2013 season were more competitive than expected and the Smith Centre played host to the first sell-out in years when the Butler Bulldogs came to town. It ended in a heartbreaking loss, but damned if it wasn’t fun to see our barn rock like that.

    Before basketball started up this season, the general consensus was that GW would improve, but nobody wanted to say by how much. The big story of the year was the arrival of Maurice “Mo” Creek from Indiana, a talented guard whose college career had been tarnished by injuries.

When the season started, GW jumped out to a 4-0 record. We were excited, but we didn’t want to jump to any conclusions. Wins against Radford, Maine, Manhattan, and Delaware State were nice but were equally expected. 

    Next came the Wooden Legacy games at Anaheim’s Honda Centre. This represented a test. Well-known schools like Miami, Creighton, and Marquette would also be there, the latter two of whom were ranked. GW pulled out a convincing overtime
victory over Miami, but then suffered the first loss of the season to Marquette. Tough to swallow, sure, but what followed was extremely pleasantly surprising. The Colonials managed to hang tough against #20 Creighton, stymie their Dylan McDermott, and come home to the District with a 60-53 win. Social media buzzed with excitement. While GW did suffer losses to a surging Kansas State team (who flirted with a ranking not so long ago) and a furiously frustrating loss to La Salle in Philadelphia, those have been the only two recent blemishes on an otherwise fantastic season. Maurice Creek buried a buzzer beater in the Verizon Centre against local rival Maryland, and GW recently emerged victorious against a very formidable VCU team that brought an intimidating amount of fans with it.

The standings will not change much. Prior to today’s game, GW stood at 4th in the Atlantic 10, close behind La Salle, Saint Louis, and UMass. All three of those teams ended up winning their contests today.

    Also to note: the Atlantic 10 conference has vastly improved this season from last year. Massachusetts and Saint Louis are both ranked at 16 and 24 respectively. Saint Louis has won 11 straight. La Salle is still perfect in the Atlantic 10, so they occupy the third spot in the standings, despite GW’s better record overall (La Salle is 11-6 total).

    Kethan Savage, the starter 6-foot-3 guard from nearby suburb Fairfax, VA, injured his ankle in the dying seconds of the game. It’s too early to tell whether that injury will be serious, but if it is, it represents a big problem for the Colonials’ depth. Get well soon Sav!

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