A game in which Shawnta Rogers scores one point and Mike King is held to five points would normally mean trouble for the GW men’s basketball team.
But the Colonials won in surprisingly easy fashion Wednesday night, beating Virginia Tech 77-67 at the Smith Center to avenge one of its three Atlantic 10 losses this season.
The Colonials (18-7, 12-3 A-10) beat the Hokies despite just one point from the A-10’s leading scorer, Rogers, who played 31 minutes despite a case of the flu. GW head coach Tom Penders said Rogers almost had to miss the game and sat out of the team’s afternoon shoot-around.
“Fortunately, his presence was inspirational to the other guys . it was his willingness to play when other kids wouldn’t have played,” Penders said.
GW’s starting backcourt of Rogers and King combined for just three points before halftime and six points with no field goals for the game. But the Colonials took a 48-28 lead into halftime behind the play of Yegor Mescheriakov, who had 16 first-half points and finished with 28.
The win set up a showdown with Xavier, who beat Dayton 90-62 Wednesday, for the A-10 West Division title and a No. 1 seed in the A-10 Tournament Mar. 3-6. The two teams meet Saturday at noon at the Smith Center.
Tech (11-14, 6-9 A-10) beat GW 77-75 in Blacksburg, Va., earlier this month. In that game, guard Eddie Lucas scored 21 points and forward Rolan Roberts scored 22, but the Colonials held Roberts in check until the second half and limited Lucas to six points. King smothered Lucas, who burned GW from three-point range in the two teams’ last game.
GW took command of the game in the middle of the first half with an 11-0 run in which it held Tech scoreless for almost five minutes to take a 20-9 lead. Mescheriakov scored 10 of the 11 points during the streak, including two dunks.
Tech would close the gap to nine points on two occasions in the first half, but GW would hold on to a double-digit lead for most of the final 30 minutes despite a sloppy second half.
“Two stats on the stat sheet summarize the game,” Virginia Tech head coach Bobby Hussey said. “When you give up 50 rebounds and your opponent shoots 48 free throws, you know you’re a full step slow and that’s exactly what we were all night long.”