President Obama Attends GW-Oregon State Game Saturday
Nov. 28, 2009
WASHINGTON, DC -- With President Barack Obama and the first family in attendance, the George Washington men's basketball team staged a furious last-minute rally before falling short, 64-57, to visiting Oregon State Saturday at GW's Charles E. Smith Center. Oregon State coach Craig Robinson is the brother of First Lady Michelle Obama. Along with the President, First Lady Michelle Obama, daughters Malia and Sasha, and Marian Robinson, the mother of Oregon State coach Craig Robinson and the president's mother-in-law, were all present.
It marked GW's first loss of the season after four straight wins, and the second GW basketball game where a sitting president was in attendance. Former President Bill Clinton also attended a GW Basketball game on Feb. 4, 1995 at Smith Center while in office.
Oregon State (2-3) used its pressure defense to force several GW turnovers early and enable the Beavers to race out to a 14-0 lead. The Colonials finally got on the scoreboard at the 14:30 mark on a dunk by senior Hermann Opoku but the Beavers pushed their lead to 18 (32-14) on a three-pointer by Seth Tarver before the Colonials staged a mini-rally to close out the first half by scoring 10 of the final 12 points for a 34-24 deficit at the break.
The Colonials cut the lead to six (36-30) less than five minutes into the second half but the Beavers responded with a 21-7 run to open a 16-point margin (53-37) at the 5:29 mark. GW again slowly cut the lead to nine on a layup by Damian Hollis with 47 seconds left to rally the home crowd. A lay-up by Bryan Bynes was followed by a steal and lay-in by Tony Taylor to make the score 59-54 and elicit chants of "Yes we can!" by the home fans as an ode to the Obama campaign slogan.
GW freshman Lasan Kromah got open and nailed a three-pointer to close within two at 59-57 with 33 seconds left. Kromah then fouled OSU's Seth Tarver who converted both free throws for a four-point OSU cushion. A GW miss on the other end forced the Colonials to foul and the Beavers took advantage by converting three more from the stripe for the final margin.
Seth Tarver led the Beavers with a team-high a game-high 18 points of 4-8 field goals and 9-10 from the line. Oregon State shot 52.8 (19-36) from the field but turned it over 23 times. The Colonials shot 36.8 percent (21-57) from the field including just 23.8 percent (5-21) from three-point range.
"Oregon State took control from the outset," GW coach Karl Hobbs said after the game. "I thought that we had to play catch-up through the entire game. We had a tough time shooting the basketball and we couldn't make shots from the outside consistently. We played like we never felt we were out of the game."
"Given how we started out, this is a really big win," said OSU Craig Robinson. "Coach Hobbs prepared his tream very well. This game was extremely important for us. We hadn't played well yet. We really needed to have a good start. We got a chance to take our team to the White House but it was really important to win the game to make this trip a treat."
After the game, Hobbs publicly thanked Obama and his family for attending the game and told the students in attendance, "This is why you come to GW."
Other dignitaries in attendance Saturday included GW President Steven Knapp who greeted the first family upon arrival at Smith Center prior to the game. Knapp presented Obama with a GW basketball game jersey, shorts and signed basketball from the Colonials.
It marked GW's first non-conference home loss since the 2002 season (Old Dominion).
GW (4-1) hosts George Mason (3-3) Wednesday, Dec. 2 at 7 p.m. at Smith Center. The game will be televised live on MASN throughout the mid-Atlantic region and broadcast live on 1500 AM, 820 AM and at FederalNewsRadio.com as well as live video streamed via the Internet at www.GWsports.com.
For more news about GW Athletics, visit www.GWsports.com.