It was an intense battle of local programs from neighboring conferences, fighting to re-establish winning cultures under first year head coaches. George Washington, put up a hell of a fight playing without senior forward Arnaldo Toro who left the game at the 17:33 mark due to a lower body injury (day to day), however, the Colonials fell to Morgan State 68-64. The Colonials were led by freshman point guard Jameer Nelson Jr who finished with 14 points and 3 rebounds and junior guard Maceo Jack, who added 13 points. Senior guard Stanley Davis Jr paced the Bears with a game high 17 points and high flying junior forward Troy Baxter added 10 points and 10 rebounds. Here are some takeaways from the game.
Morgan State's Athleticism: was surprising to see. With all due respect, it's rare to see this level of athleticism throughout the roster from a low-major program and that athleticism bothered George Washington considerably. From the opening tip, the Bears pressed full court and sent traps to disrupt the Colonials ball-handlers. They sped GW up with their quickness, speed and physicality which resulted in 12 turnovers, add in their leaping ability which helped them block countless shots from the perimeter and at the rim and it's obvious how they held the Colonials to such an inefficient game (34% FG/ 22% 3FG) shooting the ball. The Bears are ferocious defensively and if they can stay consistent on that end, they will make a lot of noise in the MEAC.
Rebounds: was an area that George Washington needed someone to step up in to lessen the blow of not having Toro, who left early in the game with a lower body injury. They missed him greatly. Morgan State dominated George Washington on the boards 45-29, including 17-7 offensively. Three players finished with seven or more rebounds for the Bears with only one player, Shawn Walker Jr, grabbing six for the Colonials. GW can't just look for Toro to rebound when he returns, other players must step up, especially in the front court. Entering the contest against Morgan State, freshman point guard Jameer Nelson Jr was second in rebounding for George Washington, averaging 5.7 per game. That has to change if the Colonials are to get on a winning track.
Inside Scoring: from George Washington is a point of concern. Morgan State outscored the Colonials 40-20 in the paint, resulting in a loss. In the Colonials three losses, they are being outscored 108-70 in the paint. The Colonial bigs, not named Arnaldo Toro, has to find a way to be a threat to score in the paint when given the opportunity to open things up for GW guards and to provide more balance offensively. American started it, Morgan State took it to another level with their full court ball pressure as they looked to contain GW's guards. Teams are basically daring the Colonial bigs to beat them. They have to answer the challenge or it will be more of the same result of what we saw Saturday afternoon.