Seven days ago, the GW men’s basketball team had won seven straight games, was 20-3 and had earned its highest ranking in 42 years.
What a difference a week makes.
Losses at Xavier Monday and Dayton Saturday gave the Colonials three straight defeats and dropped them into a second-place tie with Xavier in the Atlantic 10 West Division, a half game behind Dayton.
GW (20-6, 9-4 A-10) fell to 23rd in this week’s ESPN/USA Today Coaches’ Poll and will play Temple Sunday at the Smith Center
Xavier 96, GW 86Xavier used a 22-9 run midway through the second half and 45 points from the free throw line to beat GW 96-86 Monday in Cincinnati.
The Musketeers made 45 of their 63 free throws in handing the Colonials their third-straight defeat. The game was physical, with the two teams combining for 73 fouls. Alexander Koul, Antxon Iturbe, Pat Ngongba, Andrei Krivonos and Shawnta Rogers (21 points and nine assists) all fouled out for GW. In addition, the Colonials missed 16 of their 20 three-point shots.
GW held Xavier (17-6, 19-4 A-10) to 26 percent shooting in the first half and led 42-32 at halftime. However, the Musketeers opened the second half shooting well. In the first six minutes of the half, Xavier cut the GW lead to 52-50 with 14 minutes left.
Xavier then broke the game open with its 22-9 run over the next five minutes. GW could never get closer than seven points the rest of the way.
Mike King (25 points) made a three-pointer with a minute left to cut the Xavier lead to 88-81, but the Musketeers kept making free throws and held on for the win. Gary Lumpkin led Xavier with 31 points.
Dayton 78, GW 64Dayton scored 35 points on foul shots and tied GW for first place in the A-10 West Division with a 78-64 win at UD Arena Saturday.
The loss was the Colonials second straight defeat, after losing to Rhode Island Tuesday. It was the first time this season that GW had lost two games in a row.
Dayton (17-8, 9-3 A-10) held the Colonials to 28 percent shooting in the first half and led 33-21 at halftime. GW responded in the second half, making 54 percent of its shots and cut the Dayton lead to seven points in the final minutes, but the Flyers made foul shots to hold onto their lead.
GW committed seven team fouls in the first eight minutes of the second half, which sent Dayton players to the foul line 32 times in the second half. The Flyers made 26 of those shots to maintain their lead. Guard Edwin Young led Dayton with 18 points, including 16 free throws.
Freshman Mike King returned after missing three games with an ankle sprain and scored 11 points to lead the Colonials in scoring. Rogers also had 11 points, but missed seven of his eight three-point attempts.