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Three alumni join Board of Trustees
By Hannah Marr, News Editor • June 21, 2024

Preview: Men’s basketball vs. Vermont

File Photo by Olivia Anderson | Photo Editor

Who: Men’s basketball
Where: Smith Center, Washington, D.C.
When: Wednesday, Nov. 27 at 7 p.m.

Men’s basketball (1–5) is coming off its first win of the season heading into Wednesday’s match.

The Colonials rolled past Manhattan Saturday and played a better beginning-to-end offensive game than the team has shown all season.

The Catamounts (3–3) are coming off a 69–61 loss to Bucknell Sunday and have yet to string together more than one win in a row.

The last time the two programs met in 2008, head coach Maurice Joseph was on the court for Vermont and former head coach Mike Lonergan led the team.

Case for the Colonials:

In their last outing, the Colonials’ ball movement looked smoother than it had in previous games. GW shot at a season-best 55.6 percent clip from the field against Manhattan, while shooting 35.3 percent from beyond the arc on a 6-for-17 clip. The team showed it is capable of executing at a high caliber through 40 minutes of play against the Jaspers, and will need to continue that offensive push against Vermont.

Redshirt junior guard DJ Williams continues to pace GW’s scoring. Williams is averaging 13.8 points per game and contributed 16 points against Manhattan. The Colonials’ scoring effort was balanced Saturday, with sophomore guard Terry Nolan Jr. and junior forward Arnaldo Toro each pitching in 11 points in the game.

Strong shooting has been a thorn in GW’s side, but the Colonials will need to continue to look for multiple contributors on offense to stay competitive against the high-scoring Vermont offense. With Nolan shooting 45.7 percent from beyond the arc on the year, GW can capitalize on his strong play on the perimeter.

GW’s beyond-the-arc defense saw a substantial improvement this weekend, limiting the Jaspers to 11.1 percent from beyond the arc on 2-for-18 shooting. With Vermont averaging 8.5 three-point shots per game, GW’s perimeter defense will definitely be tested, but should give the Catamounts trouble from deep.

Toro has put up the team’s best numbers under the basket this season, nearly averaging a double-double with 9.5 points and 9.0 rebounds a game. With both teams neck-and-neck under the basket, Toro, along with the rest of the team, will need to crash the glass on both ends of the court to limit Vermont’s play in the paint.

Case for the Catamounts:

Vermont’s roster houses a high-scoring trio that has been dynamic on the court for the Catamounts. Junior forward Anthony Lamb, sophomore guard Stef Smith and redshirt senior guard Ernie Duncan average scoring well into the double-digits, with Lamb leading the pack with 20.3 points per game. Smith and Duncan contribute 16.5 and 15.2 points per game, respectively. Against No. 2 Kansas, Lamb was able to put up 24 points.

As a unit, the team averages 81.0 points per game, 18 points per game more than GW’s average, but it should be noted that the team’s 122–56 victory came against a Division III team. But even without their 122-point game, the Catamounts are averaging more points than GW per game at 72.8.

With GW’s leading point-scorer just breaking 13 points per game, the Catamounts’ offense will likely produce more than GW from the get-go. With the Colonials conceding 73.2 points per game, it looks like the Catamounts will be able to run up the score in their favor.

Lamb and Smith also lead the Catamounts in rebounding, averaging 7.8 and 4.2 boards per game, respectively. While Vermont holds a slight rebounding advantage over GW averaging 35.2 rebounds to GW’s 32.7, the greatest differentiator between the two teams under the rim is offensive rebounds – Vermont has 59 total offensive rebounds to GW’s 48 this season. The Catamounts should be expected to earn extra possessions Wednesday, which could spell trouble for GW.

The bottom line:

The Colonials will have a lot on their plate when dealing with Vermont’s high-production offense. Vermont will be a true test of GW’s improved offensive performance, as it will be tough for the team to power their offense if they are forced to make up points. The Colonials have shown flashes of a strong offense, but will need to bring their best shooting night to keep up against the Catamounts.

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