The game was supposed to be a confidence booster for the Colonials, but instead Saturday afternoon marked the pinnacle of frustration for men’s basketball this season. Rhode Island, which holds the A-10’s worst record, handed GW its fourth-consecutive loss.
Coming home on a three-game losing streak, GW faced a Rhode Island team that had not won a game in Atlantic 10 play all year and won only once at the Smith Center in the last decade. But the past meant little, as Rhode Island outscored GW by 20 in the second half for a 75-62 victory. The game was marked by GW’s flagging stamina and tired legs.
The win was Rhode Island’s (5-12, 1-5) first in more than a month and continued GW’s slide in A-10 play (10-9, 3-5). Saturday’s game was also the third straight in which a strong second half from GW’s opponent sealed the loss. St. Joseph’s shot 86 percent from the field in the final 20 minutes Jan. 20, and UMass shot 74 percent on Wednesday.
“Right now we’re playing about three minutes of bad basketball per game, at which point we seem to fall apart and aren’t able to regroup to overcome it,” GW coach Karl Hobbs said. “And that’s frustrating.”
Chris Monroe and Greg Collucci led the Colonials with 17 points apiece, but no one else posed a consistent threat on offense, as the only other player in double figures was Jaason Smith with 11.
GW also gave up 75 points to a team that averages less than 60 a game, which Hobbs said was a more important factor than the team’s offensive performance.
Rebounding was another low point for the Colonials, who were out-rebounded 42-27 and gave up 16 costly offensive rebounds.
After leading 40-33 at the half, GW traded baskets with the Rams for the early part of the second half but could not put the game away. With 14:31 remaining, a Greg Collucci 3-pointer put the Colonials ahead 49-44, but the Rams responded with an 18-1 run that gave them a 62-50 lead at the 6:30 mark.
Rhode Island forward Lazare Adingono scored eight of his nine points during the run, which put Rhode Island ahead for good and enraged an already frustrated Hobbs.
The Colonials tried to mount a comeback, cutting the lead to seven with just under six minutes left, but never came closer than that.
In the first 17 minutes of the second half, GW shot just 4 for 24 from the field and missed most easy shots, which were few and far in between.
At no other time was this more crucial than when GW’s Darrio Scott blew an easy dunk with 11:55 remaining that could have stopped Rhode Island’s run and swung the momentum in the Colonials’ favor.
Hobbs attributed part of his team’s performance to fatigue. Only six players notch more than 20 minutes a game (two are freshmen). Hobbs tried to combat the fatigue of his key players by giving minutes to the seldom-used trio of Scott, senior Albert Roma and Lewie Helton.
While the coach has praised his team’s effort all season, his rhetoric was not as strong after this game.
“I think we’re still trying to work hard and win games,” he said. “But it’s become somewhat frustrating for us now.”
Hobbs did not emerge to speak to the media until about 45 minutes after the game and appeared to have lost much of his voice by the time he emerged from the locker room.
Winning will not come any easier for GW in coming games. Four of the seven remaining games are on the road, and two home games are against Temple and Dayton. The Colonials next play Wednesday at Richmond (9-9, 3-2).