After suffering through what he called a very ugly experience a year ago, Troy Webster is having fun.

The 6-foot-4 senior guard has rebounded from a disappointing junior year to lead George Washington in scoring (14.7), minutes played (830) and confidence. In addition, Webster is second in steals and assists and usually draws the toughest opponent on defense.

Despite losing their last two Atlantic 10 Conference games last week, the Colonials (12-15 overall, 7-11 in the conference) are bubbling with confidence going into tonight's quarterfinal game against defending conference tournament champion Temple (23-4, 15-3) at McGonigle Hall in Philadelphia at 7.

"Our players are in the right frame of mind," said Coach John Kuester, whose players packed for the weekend, prepared to continue their trip to Brendan Byrne Arena at the Meadowlands for the semifinals and finals Saturday and Monday. "The players know if they play the way we've been playing the last few weeks, we can win the game."

"Anything would have been pleasant this year after what we went though last season," said Webster, who did not get along with Gerry Gimelstob last season. "Coach Kuester provided a big relief for us, made the game fun again. He changed our style of play completely, allowed us to create opportunities for ourselves on the court. The free style is more conducive to our players. I know I enjoyed this year."

Under first-year coach Kuester, GW got off to a quick start before stumbling in midseason. But the Colonials, getting fine play from Webster, Steve Frick, Mike O'Reilly and Chester Wood, surprised some with a late-season run to finish sixth in the conference and earn a first-round bye in the tournament.

"Unfortunately, it took us half the year to adjust to Coach K's style and gain the confidence we needed," Webster said. "But once we got a few conference wins, we came on."

"Our kids have scratched and clawed all season," Kuester said, "and our seniors don't want to end their season (tonight). We've worked hard, and in tournament play, anything can happen."