Colonials Host President Obama

November 30, 2009

Alt Text

With President Barack Obama and the first family in attendance, the GW men's basketball team staged a furious last-minute rally before falling short, 64-57, to visiting Oregon State Nov. 28 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, attended the game.

The loss was GW's first of the season after four straight wins and the second GW basketball game with a sitting president in attendance. Former President Bill Clinton attended a GW basketball game in 1995 at the Smith Center while in office.

GW President Steven Knapp greeted the first family upon arrival at the Smith Center prior to the game. Dr. Knapp presented Obama with a GW basketball game jersey, shorts and a signed basketball from the Colonials.

Oregon State used its pressure defense to force several GW turnovers early and enable the Beavers to race out to a 16-0 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 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 freed himself to nail a three-pointer to get within two at 59-57 with 33 seconds left. Mr. 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 from the field but turned it over 23 times. The Colonials shot 36.8 percent from the field including just 23.8 percent 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 Oregon State University Coach Robinson. "Coach Hobbs prepared his team 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."

The game marked GW's first non-conference home loss since the 2002 season. GW, now with a 4-1 record, hosts George Mason University Dec. 2 at the 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 as well as live video streamed via the Internet at

For more news about GW Athletics, visit