When George Washington was at its best, its defense created havoc on the court. The Colonials flustered their opponents with their length and quickness, forcing them into turnovers which led to easy transition baskets.
These days, GW’s opponents are turning the ball over far less regularly than in the past, and as a result, the Colonials’ scoring has dropped significantly. Teams commit just 14.5 turnovers per game against GW (6-6), which averages 64.8 points per game.
“We’re just not as athletic as we have been in the past, and that’s been the major difference,” GW Coach Karl Hobbs said. “That’s been one of our issues in terms of why our scoring is down. We’ve always been a team that’s always averaged in the 70s. Between this year and last year, that’s been one of the contributors to [the low scoring.]
“We’ve been going through sort of re-inventing ourselves a little bit because we’ve had to play a little differently.”
In the 2005-06 season when GW went 27-3, the Colonials forced 17.8 turnovers per game and scored 78.7 points per game. The following season, they forced 16.8 turnovers per game and scored 70.2 points per game on their way to a 23-9 record. During last season’s 9-17 campaign, they forced 13.2 turnovers per game and scored 63.4 points per game.
Hobbs said the team is still adjusting to its new defensive style, which has led to occasional breakdowns. The Colonials play less man-to-man defense and more zone and lack a strong player underneath the basket to provide a last line of defense.
“We’re playing a lot different defensively,” he said. “We’re not pressuring as much as we have in the past, and hopefully we’ll find out over these next few weeks what works.”
In the past, GW’s most productive offense was a steal followed by a sprint down the court for a dunk or layup. But now that the Colonials are no longer successful playing full-court, they’ve had to find ways to score from half-court sets. So far, the strategy has been slow-going.
“We’re more a deliberate team,” Hobbs said. “We’re not fast-breaking as much. We’re really trying to slow the game down a little bit. We normally would like to play the game in the high 70s to the 80s and now we’re playing games in the 60s.”
January 6, 2009; 12:08 PM ET
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