It has been clear for a while now that GW’s only possible route to the NCAA Tournament will have to come via an Atlantic 10 Tournament title. Now that the Colonials (12-16, 6-9 A-10) are no longer in the running for fifth place and a needed first-round bye, the task becomes that much harder. It became official Wednesday night when host St. Bonaventure edged GW 78-73 behind a game-high 24 points from A-10 Player of the Week Kevin Houston at the Reilly Center in Olean, N.Y.
After a GW turnover down 74-73 with 50 seconds remaining, the Colonials fouled J.R. Bremer, who hit the first free throw and missed his second. But Houston grabbed the offensive rebound and was fouled. Houston, who went a perfect 14-for-14 from the foul line, sank both free throws to give the Bonnies (17-10, 8-7 A-10) breathing room with a four point advantage. St. Bonaventure would add one more free throw, their 30th of the game (30-for-39), to finalize the score. GW made just 11 of 15 free throws in the game.
The Colonials led by as many as seven points in the first half and held a 28-22 advantage with five minutes to play when GW’s Attila Cosby slammed home two of his nine points. St. Bonnie’s went on a 9-0 run to finish the half, giving them a 45-35 lead in front a senior night crowd of 5,772.
SirValiant Brown led GW with 16 points on 6-of-18 shooting and Chris Monroe added 15. Monroe and Cosby both started, along with Brown, Antxon Iturbe and Bernard Barrow. Barrow played just six minutes in the game and recorded two points.
GW shot a respectable 40 percent from three-point range (8-for-20), with Brown, Monroe and King each hitting two three-point attempts. The Bonnies shot 6-for-19 from three-point range with Vidal Massiah hitting all three of his attempts.
Massiah had 19 points and Bremer had 18 in the game for St. Bonaventure, which played Patricio Prato (six points), the sophomore guard who missed the team’s last meeting with GW Jan. 27 at the Smith Center. The Colonials won the earlier meeting 76-68.
Wednesday night’s loss secures GW’s seventh seed in the A-10 Tourney, which will have the Colonials playing either Duquesne or Rhode island Wednesday at the First Union Spectrum in Philadelphia. The loss also makes Saturday’s game against Temple that much more important. A win could provide the Colonials with some spark going into the tourney.