Sophomore point guard Jair Bolden was on his game, scoring 21 points on 8-13 FG
In the Colonials first game action of the 17-18 season, they impressed with a 86-63 win over D-II power Fairmont State. Senior forward Yuta Watanabe (21 points and 11 rebounds) and sophomore point guard Jair Bolden (21 points) led an efficient GW attack that saw the Colonials shoot 52.5 percent from the field, 50 percent from three and 76 percent from the line for the game.
GW jumped out to a 26-11 lead at the 9:15 mark in the first half behind the mid range shooting of Bolden and inside play of Toro and Steeves. Fairmont State however showed why they were in the Division II National Championship game last season where they were runner ups. The fighting Falcons would go on a 15-4 run behind the inside outside scoring from forward Troy Cantrell and guard Kenzie Melko to cut GW's lead to four, 30-26 with a little under six minutes left in the half. George Washington raised their defensive intensity behind athletic freshman Terry Nolan Jr (6 points,3 rebounds,2 steals) and Watanabe to force turnovers, limiting Fairmont State to three points for the remainder of the half as GW held a 45-29 halftime lead.
In the second half, the Colonials kept up the defensive pressure and cruised to victory.
Sophomore forward Arnaldo Toro almost posted a double double with 8 points and 11 rebounds and senior forward Patrick Steeves added 10 points respectively.
Fairmont State guard Vonte Montgomery led the way with a team high 13 points, sophomore forward posted 11 points and Redshirt freshman forward Kenzie Melko added 10 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assist.
George Washington will host crosstown foe Howard University, Friday November 10th at 7:30 p.m.
Team athleticism -
GW is noticeably more athletic overall. Additions of guards freshmen Terry Nolan Jr, Maceo Jack, Justin Mazzulla and South Florida transfer Bo Ziegler have added athleticism and versatility to the roster. They will be looked upon to adapt and grow quickly if the Colonials are to make significant noise this season, however, the ability is there. Will they be Consistent is the remaining question?
Yuta Watanabe More aggressive -
Senior leader, preseason all conference honors and expectations, Watanabe should be put in the drivers seat for the Colonials this season. One of the most versatile players in all of college basketball, the 6'9 forward can shoot, slash, post, pass, rebound, score from all three levels and most importantly defend just about every position on the floor. He will have to be aggressive to make plays rather it's scoring or making his team bette at all times for the Colonials to be successful which goes against his natural approach. If he rises to the occasion, GW will surprise a lot of people this season.
Jair Bolden & Arnaldo Toros improvement-
With so many transfers, Bolden and Toro improvement over the summer was seen as a must for GW to be competitive throughout the season and especially in the A-10 conference. I'm here to put y'all on notice that improvement was made, from both played. Bolden is automatic shooting the ball now and is noticeably bigger and stronger. Add in his poise running the point and he looks ready to take on college basketballs best. At 6'4, 212, he will be difficult to deal with for opposing teams especially with his improved range.
Toro loves to the do the dirty work but possesses enough skill on the block to keep defenses honest. Add in his underrated passing and it's a possibility to see near triple doubles down the road for the forward. However, his main impact is being a force inside rebounding, defending and scoring. He's consistent doing that, GW will have a double double machine to rely upon.
Terry Nolan Jr Two Way impact -
Although just a freshman, Nolan Jr has the potential to be one of best two way players to come through the program. 6'3, freshman with great athleticism, length, skill and a fearless approach, it's no surprise he earned a starting spot to begin the season. As with all freshman, consistency and learning the nuances of playing at a high level of college basketball will determine how big of an impact he has. Once the experience catches up with the overall talent, he will be as dangerous a guard as their is in the conference.