It was so familiar and yet, so different. There were the Colonials flying all over the court, pressing, trapping, swarming to the ball and soaring to the hoop. Carl Elliott squaring his shoulders to the basket for an easy deuce and Maureece Rice stepping back for a feathery jumpshot that might have grazed the rim before falling through. The ball zipped around the halfcourt offense just as it did last season, stopping only when a good shot opportnity materialized. And there was a blocked shot followed by a slam at the other end, but it wasn't Pops. No, it was Rob Diggs. And there's a quick three from the wing, but it wasn't Mike Hall, it was Noel Wilmore. And a strong drive with a last-second dish wasn't Pinnock to Williams, it was King to Akingbade. And throughout, there was Karl Hobbs screaming, stomping, whistling (I think at one point he was yelling at the strength coach). And most familiar of all, GW beat BU 70-57.
Elliott was everything he has to be this season. Solid from the field (7-11 FG), perfect from the line (11-11), and ferocious on defense. The voters who had him on the A-10 Second Team might want to reconsider. Rice shot well (4-7), if less frequently than expected, and Regis Koundjia made plays that were spectacular, solid, and confounding, sometimes in the space of seconds. The great unveiling was Diggs. Differing box scores credit him with either 16 or 12 points, but either way, this is a major development for GW. Forget about his points, if you had told me Diggs would take more shots than Rice, I would have said GW loses. Throw in a couple blocked shots and seven rebounds and you've got a pretty nice night in your first career start.
Dokun Akingbade fulfilled expectations with some nice cleanup action around the bucket and a smart feed from the high post. Wilmore looked quick and smooth on the release of his two treys. Damien Hollis looked good on his first one, then forced a couple, then passed up some open shots. Both he and fellow frosh Travis King will learn better shot selection. King was also a bit dribble-happy, but looked very comfortable for a freshman in his first college game.
Now, Boston University is not Duke. For a team that relies heavily on the three-point shot, the Terriers took an awfully long time to warm up. Then again, when Koundjia is at the point of a trap, with arms that seem to stretch like a Fantastic Four hero, and Diggs or Hollis is flying out to the wing, you could understand why BU was a little off the mark. And the Terriers have even less bulk down low than the Colonials, which will be a rarity this season.
Still, a win is a win, especially when there were so many questions going into this season. Winning is a feeling GW fans have gotten used to, and there is comfort in the familiar. As Homer Simpson might say, "Mmmmm, winning..."