GW Men's Hoops Set for Clash Against Notre Dame, Alumnus Mike Brey ('82)
GW (1-1) at Notre Dame (3-1) | Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012 | Purcell Pavilion | 7 p.m.
Nov. 20, 2012
WHO: GW Men's Basketball
SOUTH BEND, Ind. - George Washington begins a stretch of eight games in 20 days with a trip to South Bend, Ind., for its first-ever meeting against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, a contest that will be broadcast online on ESPN3 and WatchESPN.
Wednesday's contest will pit GW against one of its own in UND head coach Mike Brey, a 1982 graduate of the George Washington University who served as team captain and was named team MVP of the Colonials in 1981-82. Brey, who played just that one year in Foggy Bottom after three seasons at Northwestern State (La.), is married to former GW women's volleyball player Tish Schlapo (`82). Brey's parents also have GW connections: His mother Betty was a swim coach for the Colonials, and his father Paul earned a master's degree at GW. Read GW Magazine's Spring 2010 feature on Mike Brey.
The coaching connections don't stop with Brey being a GW alumnus as he and current Colonials coach Mike Lonergan are close friends dating back to their formative years growing up in the Metro DC area. Brey attended DeMatha Catholic High School in Maryland, while Lonergan went to Archbishop Carroll in the district, and both were mentored by high school coaching legends Morgan Wootten and Joe Gallagher at the Metropolitan Area Basketball School.
Lonergan and Brey enjoyed a chance to catch up at a media session ahead of last year's BB&T Classic in the district, during which Lonergan said the following: "I'm proud to call [Brey] a friend. My mentor [Catholic University and Colgate head coach] Jack Bruen is gone, so I've really had to rely on people like Mike Brey to help me navigate my career. [Brey] has always given me good advice in coaching. He encouraged me to go to Vermont when everyone else discouraged me, and he really encouraged me to go after the GW job as it was his alma mater." Read last year's full GWsports.com feature on the relationship between Coaches Mike Lonergan and Mike Brey.
Outside of having a GW alumnus as head coach of the Fighting Irish men's basketball team, GW currently has another strong connection to Notre Dame, but not in men's hoops. Jonathan Tsipis is in his first year as the Colonials women's basketball head coach after serving the previous nine seasons on Muffet McGraw's staff at UND, including the final four seasons as Associate Head Coach. Tsipis has guided GW to a 2-1 start entering Wednesday's game at USC Upstate following back-to-back National Championship game appearances with the Fighting Irish in 2011 and 2012. Tsipis also brought in UND alumnae Megan Duffy (`06) and Erica Williamson ('10) to serve as his Associate Head Coach and Director of Basketball Operations, respectively.
GW rebounded from a season-opening loss to Youngstown State on Nov. 10 with a 72-59 victory at Boston University on Saturday. The Colonials led the Terriers by double figures throughout most of the final 26 minutes thanks largely to standout performances from freshman Joe McDonald and senior Isaiah Armwood. McDonald led all players with 21 points and added seven rebounds, while Armwood provided six points and game-highs of 12 rebounds and eight blocks.
Freshman guard Joe McDonald earned a share of the Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week award, as well as the GWsports.com Colonial of the Week, on Nov. 19 after leading the Colonials to their first victory of the 2012-13 season. In just his second collegiate game, McDonald led all players with 21 points and added seven rebounds and three assists in 36 minutes to lift GW to a 72-59 victory at Boston University on Nov. 17. McDonald's 21 points were the most for a GW rookie since Nemanja Mikic netted 23 points against UNC Wilmington in Nov. 2010, and the A-10 Rookie of the Week award is the first for a GW player since Mikic on Dec. 20, 2010.
Senior forward Isaiah Armwood totaled eight blocks in GW's victory at Boston University, just two shy of Kevin Peter Hall's program record of 10 set against James Madison in February 1976.
GW finished at 52.2 percent (24-46) from the floor in its victory over Boston University, its best shooting performance since a 55-percent effort in its last road victory at Richmond on Feb. 11, 2012. The Colonials also held the Terriers to 32.4 percent (22-68), their best defensive showing since allowing just 29 percent against UMES in the 2011-12 season opener.
Notre Dame fell out of both the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches Top 25 polls following a 1-1 weekend at the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic Championship Rounds at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The previously No. 20/21 ranked Fighting Irish lost in overtime to Saint Joseph's, 79-70, on Friday before rebounding for a 78-68 victory over BYU on Saturday.
Notre Dame, which is now receiving votes in both national polls, opened the 2012-13 season with victories over Evansville (58-49) and Monmouth (84-57) at Purcell Pavilion in CVC Classic preliminary round games to improve to 37-1 in its last 38 home games.
The Fighting Irish return four starters from last season's team that finished 22-12 overall and third in the Big East with a 13-5 mark, including Big East Most Improved Player Jack Cooley (12.5 ppg) and DeMatha Catholic graduate Jerian Grant (12.3 ppg).
Coach Mike Brey has utilized a limited, yet balanced, rotation of seven players through the first four games of the season, paced by Cooley's double-double of 17.0 points and 11.8 rebounds per game. Grant and Eric Atkins have added 11.3 and 10.0 points per game, respectively, in starting roles. Scott Martin (9.0 ppg, 8.8 rpg) and Pat Connaughton (8.5 ppg) also start, with Garrick Sherman (9.0 ppg) and Cameron Biedscheid (6.3 ppg) playing the reserve roles.
Brey will take an 0-1 all-time record against GW into Wednesday's contest as his Delaware Blue Hens team dropped an 84-79 decision to the Colonials at the 1997 Red Auerbach Classic in Washington, DC.
The Colonials will return home to the Charles E. Smith Center for their next two games - Saturday, Nov. 24 versus Hofstra at 2:00 p.m., and Monday, Nov. 26 versus Mount St. Mary's at 7:00 p.m. The contest against the Pride will feature an extended pre-game radio show and an interview with GW Director of Athletics and Recreation Patrick Nero on 1500 AM and FederalNewsRadio.com beginning at 1:30 p.m. Monday's contest against the Mount is Community Service Night presented by Catholic Charities and will feature a winter clothing drive to support Joseph's Coats of Many Colors, which benefits Joseph's Closet at St. Francis Xavier Parish in Southeast DC.