WEB EXCLUSIVE:Playing small helps hot-shooting Colonials in A-10 opener

GW played with a four-guard lineup and shot nearly fifty percent from the field en route to a 96-82 home victory against St. Bonaventure Thursday night. With the win, the Colonials (8-4, 1-0) opened A-10 conference play with the same grit that has led them to a successful start and knocked off what GW head coach Karl Hobbs has called the best team in the A-10.

The Bonnies, who upset the University of Connecticut last week and feature the second leading scorer in the nation J.R. Bremer, could not counter the performances of Chris Monroe, Jaason Smith and T.J. Thompson.

Monroe led all scorers with 29 and Smith rebounded from a poor outing against Charlotte last week with his best game of the season, totaling 22 points, 14 rebounds and 5 blocks.

Thompson, who scored 21 points and five assists, continued to erase doubts about his ability to perform as a freshman point guard. He rose to the occasion against St. Bonaventure’s deadly backcourt of Bremer and Marques Green with 21 points and five assists, despite turning the ball over six times.

Bremer had a typically strong offensive game with 28 points but did not receive much help from his teammates, who shot just 38 percent from the field.

St. Bonaventure kept the game close early and trailed by only two at the break, but the Colonials heated up in the second half with three consecutive shots by T.J. Thompson followed by a three-pointer from Greg Collucci put GW ahead 73-64 with five minutes left.

Smith helped maintain the lead by hitting key baskets down the stretch and was able to take advantage of St. Bonaventure’s undersized frontcourt with his 6-foot-8 frame and tremendous leaping ability.

Hobbs’ decision to play a small lineup clearly paid off for GW, as the Colonials matched up well with St. Bonaventure’s guards and still outrebounded the Bonnies 48-38.

Forward Tamal Forchion, who averages 23 minutes a game, did not play a single minute in the game, and forward Darrio Scott played only one minute.

The game also marked the season debut of guard Marquin Chandler after his 11-game suspension due to last season’s phone card scandal. Chandler played 17 minutes off the bench but his rust was evident and he shot only 1-9 from the field.

GW will have another home game against Duquesne Sunday at 2:00 p.m. before traveling to Dayton on Wednesday. At 5-6, Duquesne is coming off a rocky non-conference start and will be without second-leading scorer Simplice Njoya, who has been suspended for recruiting violations.

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