Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

Mikic, Colonials can’t keep pace with UNC-Wilmington at home

Sophomore Aaron Ware tied for the team lead with seven rebounds Monday night but had just four points in GW's 73-69 loss. Chris Gregory | Senior Staff Photographer

When a freshman scores 23 points at home in the fifth game of his career and makes seven three-pointers, it’s almost always a good omen for his team. When his team rallies to turn a double-digit first half deficit into a five-point halftime lead, the outlook gets even better.

But for the men’s basketball team this season, even when almost everything goes right, things can still go south, as evidenced by GW’s 73-69 home loss to UNC-Wilmington Monday night.

The Colonials (2-3) were led by sharp-shooting freshman forward Nemanja Mikic, who scored 23 points and shot seven-for-13 from behind the three-point line. It was Mikic who spurred GW to rally from its 12-point deficit in the first half with four three-pointers in the span of 2:38 seconds, but even his strong performance wasn’t good enough Monday night.

As good as Mikic was, UNC-Wilmington freshman Tanner Milson was even better, scoring 25 points, 14 of which came in the second half and making seven of his nine three-point attempts. It was an impressive and unexpected scoring outburst from a player who came into Monday night’s game averaging 2.6 points per game.

“The young man that had 25 tonight, I think he was coming into the game, he might have been averaging four or five points,” head coach Karl Hobbs said. “He made shots early and from that point on, he really felt it… I thought they did a great job of finding him and all the shots he made were open shots.”

With Milson and Mikic more or less matching each other shot for shot, neither team could pull away in the second half. The Colonials got 10 points from senior center Joseph Katuka and 10 more from sophomore forward Dwayne Smith, but couldn’t put the Seahawks away. With junior guard Tony Taylor sidelined with foul trouble for most of the game and sophomore guard Lasan Kromah on crutches and wearing a walking boot, GW couldn’t hold onto its lead as the clock wound down.

“I think when we’re playing at home, it’s almost like if we don’t have an eight or 10 point lead, almost anything can happen because then every shot becomes such an important shot,” Hobbs said, pointing to his team’s second-half collapse that led to a 62-51 defeat against Hampton as further proof.

The culprit, Hobbs said, was his team’s inability to finish plays. He pointed specifically to one sequence with just under five minutes to play in the second half, Milson hit a three to draw the Seahawks to within two following a missed layup on a fast break by Aaron Ware.

“We gotta find a way to finish plays,” Hobbs said. “We have a fast break and we miss a layup, and our missed layup, they make a three. That’s a three-point swing, a five-point swing pretty much, and it was at a critical moment. We gotta finish those, I don’t know what to say.”

Playing hard and playing with intensity hasn’t been an issue for the Colonials, Hobbs said, but even after just five games, Hobbs said that an inability to finish plays, and games, has plagued GW more than once this season. The remedy, he said, will come with a return to basics which will lead to increased confidence late in games.

“What needs to happen is, the focus has got to be there, we have to continue to go back to fundamentals, and then that’s just confidence,” Hobbs said. “You have to have confidence and you have to finish those. You have to finish those plays. We gotta keep grinding and keep getting after it. Especially in critical moments, those are ones that we gotta finish up.”

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