Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

As tough non-conference stretch looms, men’s basketball must find consistency

Sean Hurd, a junior majoring in exercise science, is The Hatchet’s sports columnist.

The men’s basketball team is looking to get back into its groove, and a blowout win over a winless team may have been what it needed.

Thursday’s 23-point toppling of local stepping stone UMBC allowed GW to begin to get back on the right track after a troubling loss to Seton Hall last Saturday, a game still fresh in the memory of head coach Mike Lonergan.

While the game wasn’t won with any particular flare or flash and wasn’t necessarily gritty, it was a good, physical victory, with the Colonials playing at the level they expect of themselves through every game of the season. A win is a win.

Against the Retrievers, most of what the Colonials were missing against the Pirates filled the stat sheet Thursday: ball movement, limited turnovers, bench scoring and emphatic performances from juniors Patricio Garino and Kevin Larsen. Those two combined for 37 points and 13 rebounds.

Lonergan’s goal Thursday was to get his big’s confidence back. Larsen has tried to return to last season’s form and move past his see-saw start through the first six games of the season.

Moving forward, the personnel formula will remain unchanged: GW will rely heavily on the core four, await further improvements from Yuta Watanabe and Darian Bryant and hope that either Ryan McCoy or Nick Griffin can get into a rhythm to extend Lonergan’s depth.

Lonergan will ride Griffin to boost a team that is struggling to find success from the 3-point range and is shooting just 29.3 percent from beyond the arc.

Watanabe, who has undoubtedly become this team’s spark plug, made a handful of plays through pure hustle and energy, including a huge block and dunk in the second half against UMBC.

With the team’s toughest stretch of competition looming, beginning with Charlotte at the Verizon Center on Sunday, strong all-around performances like the one against the Retrievers must continue. The team needs to consistently play at a higher level – something both Lonergan and Garino said after Thursday’s win.

“We’re not playing as well as I expected us to,” Lonergan said. “We’ve gotta play better. It’s no secret, these guys know it.”

“I think we’re all a little disappointed,” Garino echoed. “I think we all thought we would be playing a little better than we are right now.”

As the Colonials prepare to face off against the 49ers, there is no definitive answer as to what GW team will show up to play. But I can say one thing for sure: The tests the Colonials will face in the next three weeks will define the team’s non-conference résumé down the stretch.

It’s time to produce. How do the Colonials want to define their non-conference season?

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