GAME OF THE DAY: George Washington 60, No. 11 Wichita State 54
A strategic move by head coach Mike Lonergan proved to be the difference as the Colonials capped a good week in Honolulu with the Diamond Head Classic title. Having some issues defending Wichita State’s ball screen action George Washington switched to its 1-3-1 defense, and it paid off. The Colonials were able to force some turnovers, and when they didn’t turn the ball over Wichita State spent far too much time trying to figure out the defense and not enough time attacking it.
With freshman Yuta Watanabe at the top of the zone George Washington has an active player with good wingspan, and that impacted the way in which Wichita State was able to find shots down the stretch. Kethan Savage scored 12 points to lead three Colonials in double figures, with Watanabe scoring eight of his ten in the second half. Kevin Larsen, who finished the game with ten points, five rebounds, four assists and two blocks, was named tournament MVP.
Fred Van Vleet scored 11 points to lead Wichita State, but he shot 4-for-15 from the field and Ron Baker scored nine points on 4-for-12 shooting. Not only is this a big win for George Washington’s resume, but it’s also a good result for the Atlantic 10 as a whole moving forward.
1. Hawaii 69, Colorado 66
This turned out to be a very good tournament for Benjy Taylor’s Rainbow Warriors, as they won two games and nearly knocked off No. 11 Wichita State in the semifinals. Freshman guard Isaac Fleming was a handful for Hawaii, as he tallied 18 points, six rebounds and five assists off the bench, and starters Garrett Nevels and Negus Webster-Chan added 12 apiece. Josh Scott scored 23 points and Askia Booker 22 for the Buffaloes, whose non-conference resume took another hit with the loss.
2. Nebraska 71, Ohio 58
Tim Miles’ Cornhuskers rebounded from their loss to Hawaii with wins over Loyola Marymount and Ohio to go 2-1 in Hawaii. Terran Petteway and Shavon Shields scored 22 points apiece, with Petteway also grabbing ten rebounds for the winners. Javarez Willis scored 15 points but Ohio shot just 37.7% from the field and finished the game with 15 turnovers and just seven assists.
3. Loyola Marymount 72, DePaul 69
While one team ended a six-game losing streak in this one, the other (DePaul) has now lost six straight. Evan Payne scored 24 points and Ayodeji Egbeyemi 20 for Mike Dunlap’s Lions, who will go into WCC play with some positive momentum. As for the Blue Demons, all five starters reached double figures but they once again struggled defensively, as LMU shot better than 53 percent from the field. DePaul begins Big East play with two homes games (Marquette and Xavier), but given the way they’re playing it’s tough to see Oliver Purnell’s team turning things around.
1. Terran Petteway (Nebraska)
22 points and ten rebounds in Nebraska’s 71-58 win over Ohio.
2. Evan Payne (Loyola Marymount)
24 points in the Lions’ 72-69 win over DePaul.
3. Isaac Fleming (Hawaii)
18 points, six rebounds and five assists in the Rainbow Warriors’ 69-66 win over Colorado.
1. Forrest Robinson (DePaul)
Scored three points on 1-for-9 shooting in DePaul’s 72-69 loss to Loyola Marymount.
2. Fred Van Vleet and Ron Baker (Wichita State)
Scored a total of 20 points, doing so on 8-for-27 shooting in the Shockers’ 60-54 loss to George Washington.