Sunday’s GW men’s basketball game with Temple was a meeting of teams going in opposite directions.
The Owls used an 11-0 run midway through the second half to win their seventh-straight game, 56-49, before 5,454 at the Smith Center.
Temple (19-6, 12-3 Atlantic 10) clinched second place in the A-10 East Division, meaning it will get a bye in the first round of the A-10 Tournament March 4-7. The Owls are a half game behind first-place Massachusetts in the East Division and will play the Minutemen for first place Sunday.
GW, meanwhile, was held scoreless during a six-minute span in the second half and lost its fourth consecutive game. The Colonials (20-7, 9-5 A-10) fell a game behind Xavier and Dayton atop the A-10 West Division. All three teams have two games remaining. GW plays at Virginia Tech Wednesday.
“Earlier in the year we were doing some things a lot better than we are now,” Jarvis said. “The team’s going to have to be a lot more disciplined. Good things happen when you work at the things you should work at.”
GW opened the second half by scoring six-straight points to take a 25-20 lead. A dunk by Alexander Koul put the Colonials ahead 29-26 with 13:40 left in the game. GW didn’t score again until Mike King made two free throws six-and-a-half minutes later. By then, Temple had reeled off 11 straight points to take a 39-31 lead.
Reserve Keaton Sanders started the Temple run with two free throws. Guard Rasheed Brokenborough then stole the ball for a breakaway slam dunk. One possession later, Lamont Barnes finished a Temple fast break with a dunk. Lynn Greer’s three-pointer gave the Owls a 37-29 lead with 10 minutes remaining. Temple did not trail after that as its defense held off the Colonials the rest of the game.
“Our defense is holding us,” Temple Coach John Chaney said. “We can hold teams to a low score, but we can’t score ourselves. We tried to wrap our defense around Koul. You can’t stop everybody on a team, so you try to pull out two players. We focused on the leaders of a team, the point guard and the center.”
Koul finished with 12 points and 13 rebounds. Point guard Shawnta Rogers continues to struggle offensively. Rogers had just four points and two assists. Yegor Mescheriakov made only one of his seven shots and scored four points.
Mescheriakov, Rogers and Koul were kept on the bench in the game’s final five minutes by Jarvis, even though GW trailed by 10 points.
“I was trying to win the game like I always do,” Jarvis said of why he held the three starters on the bench in the final minutes.
The Colonials desperately tried to tie the game in the final three minutes. Mike King (16 points) scored eight points in the final minute and brought GW within 54-49 by making a three-pointer with 18 seconds left, but it was too little too late.
Temple shot only 36 percent, but its match-up zone defense held GW to 38 percent shooting and forced 21 turnovers. Temple’s match-up zone is essentially a zone defense, except the Owls play man-to-man defense within certain areas.
“They’ve perfected the art of Temple basketball,” Jarvis said. “They’re like a golfer with an ugly swing – it may not be pretty, but they’ve perfected it. The only way you’re going to beat them is to be very disciplined at what you do. There is an opening in any defense. You just have to find it and exploit it. We got good shots around the basket, we just didn’t finish.”
GW forward Antxon Iturbe missed the game with a stress fracture in his left ankle. He is listed as day-to-day.