Colonials Shock #11 Wichita State to Win Diamond Head Classic

Jeff Pawling
Co-Director

It was not easy at any point for GW on Christmas Night in Honolulu, but the Colonials rode a gritty team performance on defense and timely shooting to upset #11 Wichita State 60-54 and win the 2014 Diamond Head Classic.

Kethan Savage led the way offensively for the Colonials with 12 points on 5-11 shooting while Kevin Larsen (Diamond Head Classic MVP) and Yuta Watanabe each added 10 points in the shocking victory. The team, as a whole, shot 51 percent from the field, making the fact that the Colonials’ top scorer only finished with 12 points even more surprising. Yet, it is a testament to just how much of a team effort this win was for the Buff and Blue.

Another big factor in the win was GW’s three-point shooting. The Colonials were 9-15 from beyond the arc on Thursday night, their best clip of the season. Furthermore, GW held Wichita State to a 34 percent clip from the field overall, their worst team shooting percentage of the season as Shockers Head Coach Gregg Marshall and his staff had difficulty deciphering the Colonials’ 1-3-1 Zone. The defense was able to contain Wichita State’s leading scorers Ron Baker and Fred VanVleet to a combined 20 points on 8-27 shooting.

But despite all of that, things looked bleak for the Colonials when the Shockers took their largest lead of the night at 45-37 with 9:45 remaining. However, unlike past upset bids at Virginia and Penn State that were derailed in the second half, the Colonials fought back with a vengeance, embarking on a 23-9 run down the stretch to capture their ninth win of the season.

“Stick with this team, stick with these guys,” Head Coach Mike Lonergan said after the game. Rest assured, even despite the turnovers (15 tonight) and the fairly frequent free throw shooting woes (3-6 from the charity stripe tonight), I do not think anyone is jumping ship after that upset tonight. Postgame, the players looked the happiest of any of Lonergan’s GW teams. After enduring some deflating losses early on at Virginia, Seton Hall, and Penn State, the Colonials look like they have finally hit their stride. The only shame is that the Atlantic 10 season is not starting sooner.

The Colonials will pay their respects during a visit to Pearl Harbor tomorrow before making the long flight back to the District to prepare for their next game on December 30th, when they welcome VMI to the Smith Center. WRGW will be back on the air for that one, with tip off scheduled for 7 pm on gwradio.com.

Editor’s Note: Special thanks to Cameron Rohde, who covered GW on-site at the Diamond Head Classic in Honolulu. Unfortunately, he could not stick around for the title game tonight, but we appreciated his hard work and top-notch coverage this week.

About Jeff Pawling

Co-Assistant Sports Director, News & Social Media, WRGW District Radio

Posted on December 25, 2014, in Campus, GW Basketball, Jeff Pawling, Men's Basketball and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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