George Washington Coach Gerry Gimelstob celebrated the Colonials' first victory in seven years of postseason play in typical Gimelstob fashion: watching rolls of films until the wee hours of this morning.
GW's dramatic 71-70 victory Monday night over Duquesne in the first round of the Atlantic 10 conference tournament sent the Colonials (14-14) into a quarterfinal match against West Division top seed St. Bonaventure (19-8) Wednesday at 9 p.m.
West Virginia (20-7) plays Penn State (17-10) at 7.
Although St. Bonaventure defeated the Colonials twice during the regular season, 77-67 and 60-55, Gimelstob feels his young team could win if Mike Brown and Troy Webster get scoring help from their teammates. Against Duquesne, Brown had a career high 32 points and Webster 21, but forwards Darryl Webster, Chester Wood, Dan Sullivan and Craig Helms made only three of seven shots.
Still, Helms was the game's hero, scoring the winning points on an eight-foot jump shot with eight seconds left. The 6-foot-6 freshman also made a good play at the other end, holding his ground and forcing Joey Myers to miss an easy layup that would have won the game.
"We watched films of the game and of our game against St. Bonaventure last week until about 3 a.m," Gimelstob said before today's short practice at the Civic Arena. "We're going to have real problems with St. Bonaventure. They have a good, balanced attack and they have Mark Jones, who is one of the top guards in the nation."
Gimelstob also hopes Troy Webster can play again. The freshman, suffering from back spasms, was sore today and his status for Wednesday night is uncertain. In addition, Wood still is limping from a stress fracture in his foot, Helms is recovering from a bad ankle sprain and Dave Hobel was hospitalized Sunday in Cumberland, Md., with intestinal flu.
Without Troy Webster, the Colonials' chances of beating the Bonnies will be slim, although St. Bonaventure didn't look sharp in its five-point victory at GW last week. Jones, a slick, quick 6-2 junior, averages 16.2 points, five assists and three steals per game, and is the key to the Bonnies' success.
"Mike Jones is the smartest guard I've played against," said GW point guard Mike O'Reilly, whose defensive assignment will be Jones. "He shoots and passes the ball real well. I realize I have to slow him down. You can't let him start hitting consecutive jumpers, he'll kill you. I'll try to press him, get him tired with fullcourt pressure."
"(Eric) Stover and Rob Garbade (both 6-8) will have to contend with Brown," Bonnies first-year Coach Jim O'Brien said. "Brown is just too physical for our guys and we'll have trouble with him, just as Duquesne did. He hit some big shots for GW in that game."