RUST. Rust was a definite concern for George Washington as they took the floor for their season opener against Navy. Having not played competitive basketball since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as having numerous new faces become part of the program, the lack of chemistry and being a step slow against an actual opponent would give anyone cause for concern. Those concerns were well founded right away.
Navy started the game 8-10 from the field putting GW on their heels with a 20-7 deficit and never looked back, as the Colonials fell to the Midshipmen 78-71. GW was swarmed by Navy all game long, committing 16 turnovers (11 in the first half) and were a step slow rotating defensively, allowing 26 assists total from Navy who were surgical with their passing.
James Bishop and Jamison Battle were tied for a game high 20 points, while Jameer Nelson Jr added 18 points to lead GW.
John Carter Jr posted 17 points and 6 rebounds and Cam Davis added 15 points and 7 assists for Navy.
Below are takeaways from the game:
Sixteen Turnovers: is obviously unacceptable. Having 11 in the first half will drive any coach crazy. GW's best shooter Jamison Battle had SIX by himself. Yes, GW hadn't played any competition outside of scrimmages in practice since the A-10 Tournament back in March, however, it's difficult to win any game giving the opposing team that many extra possessions. Limit turnovers and GW will be in good shape to win their fair share of games this season.
Defense: at times left a lot to be desired. Part of the rust and lack of chemistry with this being the Colonials first game against outside competition in nearly nine months. Navy had their way in every aspect offensively. The Midshipmen shot 48 percent from the field and 43 percent from deep while dishing out 26 assists. Navy killed GW with their high-low game, the result was 33 points from their frontcourt of Tyler Nelson, Richard Njoku and Luke Loehr. In the backcourt, with all eyes on the explosive Cam Davis, Navy's junior guard John Carter Jr went off for a team high 17 points, 6 rebounds and 2 steals on 40 percent shooting from deep. The Colonials have film, and got a chance to see what they need to clean up across the board. Defense I'm sure is at the top of the list. Let's see how they improve moving forward.
Bishop/Nelson Jr/ Battle: were bright spots for the Colonials and gave everyone a glimpse into their potential as a trio. They combined to score 58 of of GW's 71 points. James Bishop is a very crafty scorer and can score from all three levels effectively, Yet, he gets into trouble with his tunnel vision to score the ball. He gets so locked in that he misses teammates in prime scoring position and then forces up bad shots. One possession late in the game with GW on a run, threatening to take the lead for the first time, Bishop missed a wide open Jamison Battle who had it going from deep and instead drove into the lane and forced up a terrible shot. It deflated the team. He has to slow down and be more patient. Let the game come to him.
Jamison Battle did what he does, shoot efficiently from all over the floor. The extra work on his body and being in better shape showed when he got the ball on the break, bump the Navy defender out of the way and dunked the ball home. Last season he wouldn't have done that. Battle shot 60 percent from the field and 50 percent from deep. The only knock from his performance yesterday, the six turnovers. They hurt. I expect better decision making from Battle moving forward as the teams chemistry grows and they get more games under their belt.
I was most impressed with Jameer Nelson Jr. He looks more poised and his decision making with ball has vastly improved, which shouldn't be a shock considering who his father is. I'm sure they put in work to improve during the shutdown. The athletic point guard posted 18 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists on 60 percent shooting from the field, with only two turnovers. Nelson Jr showed more confidence shooting from deep, shooting from the free throw line and having a better understanding of how to run the team. Defensively he was sharp, especially considering that he was matched up with two dangerous guards from Navy in Carter Jr and Davis all game. Nelson Jr is well on his way to becoming a complete threat for GW.
The Colonials are scheduled to take on Hampton, Tuesday, December 1st.