Men drop first two A-10 games, fall below .500

The GW men’s basketball team struggled out of the gate in the new year, dropping its first two Atlantic 10 games at Temple and La Salle. After a 6-5 start in non-conference play, the Colonials stumbled through a Philadelphia road trip, losing to the Owls 68-65 last Sunday and falling to the Explorers 67-49 Saturday afternoon.

Before A-10 play began, the Colonials (6-7, 0-2 A-10) had won three of their last five games to wrap up their pre-conference schedule but are currently riding a three-game losing streak, their longest of the season.

GW won at Boston, Binghamton and Towson universities, but lost to Old Dominion University at home and to local rival American University across town. The Old Dominion game was GW’s only home game since November as the team has played 10 of its first 13 games away from the Smith Center.

“It’s been kind of tough to play on the road when most of us are freshmen,” rookie forward Pops Mensah-Bonsu said. “But it’s helping us grow too, because if we get used to playing on the road, it can only help us when we come home.”

Senior Chris Monroe led the team in scoring in six of the seven games during that stretch, bringing his season average up to a conference-leading 20.8 points per game.

Typical of a young team, turnovers have been a problem for the Colonials in the last month. In all of GW’s losses, the team tallied more turnovers than its opponents but when the Colonials turned the ball over fewer or the same number of times as their opponent, they won.

“We’re in a little slump right now,” Mensah-Bonsu said. “But we have a good whole week of practice coming up and we just need to pull together for this Dayton game.”

The Colonials open up home conference play Saturday against Dayton at 7:30 p.m. The game will mark the first time GW plays at the Smith Center with most students on campus.

La Salle 67, GW 49
Saturday, Jan. 11

La Salle (7-5, 1-1) scored the first basket of the game and never surrendered the lead, pulling away in the second half to beat GW 67-49 in Philadelphia Saturday afternoon.

The Colonials struggled the entire game, shooting only 23 percent from the field (14-for-61) and hitting only 11 percent of their three-point field goal attempts (3-for-28).

Despite the poor shooting, the Colonials only trailed by six at halftime, 32-26. But the Explorers opened up a 10-point lead five minutes into the second half when Jermaine Thomas hit a lay-up to put La Salle ahead 40-30. GW cut the lead to nine a minute later, but could not get any closer the rest of the game.

“Sometimes in the second half, we come out a little lackadaisical,” Mensah-Bonsu said. “They really jumped out on us and we didn’t respond with the intensity that we should have.”

Monroe scored 21 points to lead the Colonials and freshman Mike Hall racked up a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.

Temple 68, GW 65
Sunday, Jan. 5

Temple grabbed 22 offensive rebounds en route to a 68-65 victory over the Colonials in their conference opener Jan. 5.

Senior Chris Monroe led GW with 21 points and eight rebounds while sophomore T.J. Thompson scored 13 and Mensah-Bonsu added 12.

David Hawkins scored 22 points for the Owls and Brian Polk added 13 off the bench.

Temple went on a 17-2 run early in the second half to open up a 53-38 lead with just under 14 minutes remaining in the game. But the Colonials, led by Monroe, stormed back over the next 12 minutes to tie the game at 64 apiece. Monroe scored 15 of his 21 points during that run.

The Owls regained the lead, 66-64, with 45 seconds remaining on an Antywane Robinson lay-up. Freshman Mike Hall hit one of two free throws with 17 seconds remaining in the game to cut the lead to one, 66-65.

Hawkins then hit two free throws with eight seconds remaining to give the Owls a three-point lead. GW junior Greg Collucci missed a three-point attempt at the buzzer that would have sent the game into overtime.

GW opened the game with a 10-2 run, capped off by a Hall three-pointer. The Owls then went on an 18-5 run sparked by Polk, who scored 10 of his 13 points during that stretch.

Temple took a 34-29 lead into the locker room despite shooting 32 percent from the field and 33 percent from the free throw line.

American 81, GW 75
Thursday, Jan. 2

Even with sophomore T.J. Thompson’s career-high 26 points and nine assists, the Colonials fell to cross-town rival American University, 81-75, for their first loss to the Eagles in 10 games. American’s last victory over GW came in 1989.

The Colonials shot 57 percent from the field and led 40-35 at halftime, but American rallied for a comeback in the final minutes. Senior Chris Monroe (26 points) hit a lay-up with 1:20 remaining to give the Colonials a one-point lead but a Matej Cresnik three-pointer quickly made it GW’s last. Up 75-73, American tacked on six free throws including four straight in the final 11 seconds from guard Steven Miles for the win.

GW 68, Binghamton 64
Monday, Dec. 30

Junior Greg Collucci’s three-pointer with 4:25 remaining gave GW its first lead of the game as the Colonials held on for a 68-64 win at Binghamton University.

Freshman Pops Mensah-Bonsu led the Colonials with 16 points. Senior Chris Monroe added 14, 12 of which came from the free throw line.

The Colonials were down 10 points at the half, 32-22, but scored the first eight points of the second half to narrow the deficit to two points. An Omar Williams dunk with just over five minutes remaining propelled the Colonials on an 11-0 run for the lead.

GW’s comeback was due in large part to key free throws down the stretch, as the Colonials converted 25 of 32 shots from behind the line in a whistle-heavy game.

Old Dominion 84, GW 76
Saturday, Dec. 28

A Ricardo Marsh alley-hoop dunk put the final nail in the Colonials’ coffin at the Smith Center, giving Old Dominion University a 13-point lead with six minutes remaining.

The Monarchs shot 51 percent from the field and 91 percent from the free throw line as they knocked off the Colonials 84-76.

Monroe led GW with 21 points and seven rebounds. Thompson scored 17 and dished out seven assists and Mensah-Bonsu scored 13 points on perfect 5-for-5 shooting from the field.

Back-to-back three-pointers by Monroe and freshman Mike Hall cut Old Dominion’s lead to six, 68-62, with just under seven minutes remaining. But the Monarchs answered with a 7-0 run of their own over the next minute.

GW 70, Towson 60
Sunday Dec. 22

The Colonials jumped out to a 7-0 lead against Towson University and never looked back, beating the Tigers 70-60 in Towson, Md.

Chris Monroe had 24 points, five rebounds, five assists and four steals to lead the Colonials. Mike Hall continued his strong play, notching his third double-double of the season (13 points, 12 rebounds).

GW went on an 8-0 run to go up 59-40 with 12 minutes left. The Colonials maintained a sizeable lead throughout the second half even before the run as Towson was unable to get any closer than 14 points before the last 1:30 of the game.

GW 56, Boston U. 46
Wednesday, Dec. 11

GW notched its best defensive win of the season to date at Boston University, holding the Terriers to just 46 points.

The Colonials held the Terriers to no field goals for nearly eight minutes in the middle of the second half to take a 10-point lead. Boston University was unable to cut the lead under eight the rest of the game.

Chris Monroe led all scorers with 25 points and Thompson recorded his fourth double-digit assist game of the season.

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