GW rebuilding process on track

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Best of luck finding a program that swung from great to bad as dramatically as George Washington did starting in the middle of this decade.

(OK, there’s Indiana. Find another).

The Colonials, though, look much different this year. There isn’t a ridiculous collection of mature talent simply trashing a nonconference schedule. And there isn’t a bumbling bunch unable to make the Atlantic 10 tournament, as was the case the last two years.

This GW team is interesting, an outfit that could do any number of things as the season moves along.

Last night’s 110-97 loss to Providence at the Smith Center only reinforced that.

Sure, the Colonials gave up their most points in a game since 1977. But they also scored their most since early in that 2005-06 season that featured a 26-1 regular season.

There is no shortage of pieces, though Lasan Kromah and Damian Hollis are the guys most likely to play well. That was the case last night, with both going for more than 20 points.

GW (6-2) actually looked much better than it did in Sunday’s BB&T Classic defeat of Navy, even if its defense was lacking. Some of it was being a step behind at times. Some of it was Providence shooting an absurd 16-for-29 from 3-point range.

It’s part of growing up, and it’s something coach Karl Hobbs seems to have an appreciation for even after the back-to-back losing seasons that preceded this one.

“It’s not about us getting disheartened,” Hobbs said. “For us, it’s about the focus of getting back to the foundation of how we play. That’s the stage where we’re at. We’re not at the stage where we’re talking about ‘We need to win this game so we can get an at-large bid in the NCAA tournament.’ We’re not at that level yet. We’re not at that point yet. We’re still putting our foundation together. We’re still putting our principles in order.”

The acknowledgment, and perhaps even understanding, that things might not be so smooth this season should only accelerate that growth. The Colonials sure didn’t look like a bottom feeder in two games this week. They also didn’t look like one of the best teams in the A-10, at least not yet.

But last night, there was never a hint of mailing things in, of listlessly shrugging when Providence repelled every attempt at a rally. There also wasn’t the complete lack of awareness that was evident when the Colonials got blitzed in last year’s BB&T Classic by Maryland.

Instead, this group did what it could. It took care of the ball (nine turnovers), forced Providence out of its preferred pressure sets and got great performances from its best players.

The Friars just happened to be better.

“This was a very, very important basketball game for them,” Hobbs said. “When you look at their body of work, this was a major, major game for them, and they played like it.”

But GW certainly didn’t make it easy on the Friars (7-3). That’s progress from the last two years – and one of many steps needed to get back to where the Colonials were two years before that.

* STAT OF THE GAME

Most points scored by GW in a loss, all-time:

107: West Virginia, 1958 (113-107)

99: at Siena, 1999 (106-99)

98: at Davidson, 1969 (126-98)
98: at West Virginia, 1990  (107-98)

97: West Virginia, 1963 (100-97)
97: at West Virginia, 1967 (127-97)
97: Providence, 2009 (110-97)

96: at Maryland, 1968 (99-96)
96: Maryland, 1971 (117-96)

Patrick Stevens

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