After losing a pair of games at the BB&T Classic Dec. 6 and 7, the GW men’s basketball team has won five of its last six games.
GW’s only loss during that stretch came at Siena College, and the Colonials have won their first two Atlantic 10 Conference games, including a rout of La Salle at the Smith Center Saturday.
The Colonials (8-4, 2-0 A-10) play at home Thursday against Dayton.
GW 93, La Salle 75
GW’s game with La Salle was over almost as soon as it started.
The Colonials jumped out to a 19-3 lead before five minutes had elapsed in the first half and never led by less than 13 for the rest of the game.
GW picked apart the zone defenses that La Salle played in the first half from the very first minute, with good passing leading to a pair of easy layups by forward Pat Ngongba for a 4-0 lead.
“Our defense couldn’t stop them,” La Salle head coach Bill “Speedy” Morris said. “They were able to do whatever they wanted.”
Even though La Salle shot 52 percent from the field, GW also had its way on defense for much of the game, forcing 24 turnovers. The Explorers (5-7, 1-2 A-10) came into the game with the conference’s second leading scorer, junior guard Donnie Carr. Carr averaged 19.2 points per game entering the contest, but GW limited him to 11 points, including no points and just three shots in the decisive first half.
Carr’s scoring was limited because he played point guard so freshman Julian Blanks wouldn’t have to bring the ball up against Shawnta Rogers, Morris said, but sophomore Mike King also smothered him on defense.
“Mike King is a stopper, he did a great job on Donnie Carr,” GW head coach Tom Penders said. “Donnie Carr is a great player and a very difficult player to contain, and the buckets he got were when Mike wasn’t on him.”
Yegor Mescheriakov led five players in double figures for GW with 22 points, while Rogers scored 19 points and Ngongba posted a career-high 16 points.
The Colonials built a 50-28 lead at halftime behind Mescheriakov’s 13 first-half points, and extended their lead to as many as 31 points in the second half.
GW 80, Duquesne 54, Jan. 2
Rogers and King combined for 44 points as GW outscored Duquesne 48-27 in the second half to secure the victory in Pittsburgh. Rogers nailed four three-point shots while dishing nine assists and grabbing five rebounds to lead GW to a win in its A-10 opener.
GW 76, Ohio 65, Dec. 30
GW outscored Ohio University at the foul line 33-9 in winning at the Smith Center. King connected on 10 of 17 field goal attempts while leading all scorers with 25 points. Rogers scored 15 points, distributed eight assists and tallied four steals.
GW 91, Bradley 71, Dec. 26
Rogers became GW’s all-time assists leader – topping Alvin Pearsall’s 497 – as he led all players with 24 points and 11 assists at the Smith Center. Andry Sola posted career-highs in points (19) and three-point field goals (5). GW broke out to a 42-24 halftime lead.
Siena 106, GW 99, Dec. 23
GW failed to hold on to its 54-47 halftime lead as Siena College scored 22 of its 59 second half points from the free throw line in Albany, N.Y. Rogers led the Colonials with 33 points and nine assists. King tallied 18 points, nine boards and five steals.
GW 92, Old Dominion 89, Dec. 12
Rogers had 27 points, 10 assists and seven steals and hit the game-winning three-point shot with less than three seconds left at the Smith Center. Mescheriakov scored 26 points and grabbed eight rebounds.
Stanford 70, GW 56, Dec. 7
Stanford University shot 45 percent from the field while GW shot only 31 percent in the consolation game of the BB&T Classic at the MCI Center. Mescheriakov led the Colonials with 16 points on 5-of-19 shooting from the field. GW connected on only four of 18 three-point attempts.