A three-pointer by sophomore T.J. Thompson with just over a minute remaining cut Richmond’s lead to two points, but the GW men’s basketball team was unable to get any closer and dropped its fifth straight game to the Spiders 63-57 Tuesday night in Richmond, Va.
Senior Chris Monroe led the Colonials (6-9, 0-4 Atlantic 10) in scoring with 27 points on 10-for-16 shooting, connecting on five of seven shots from behind the arc. Thompson added 12 points on 5-for-11 shooting and freshman Mike Hall had a game-high eight rebounds, including seven on the offensive glass.
“(Monroe) really sparked us tremendously,” GW head coach Karl Hobbs said.
But that spark did not transfer to the bench. The Colonials’ bench managed only two points, scored by freshman Omar Williams.
“We really struggled because guys off the bench couldn’t provide us with any scoring,” Hobbs added.
Tony Dobbins led the Spiders (10-6, 4-1 A-10) with 26 points, shooting 14-for-18 from the foul line. His 18 attempts from the charity stripe were 10 more than the rest of the Colonials had as a team (6-for-8). Eric Zwayer, Jeff Myers and Mike Skrocki all had 10 points in the victory for Richmond.
Hobbs said GW’s defense had good ball pressure on the perimeter, holding the third best team in the conference in three-point shooting to 4-for-16 from behind the arc, but that strategy led to too many easy lay-ups early in the game.
After a Skrocki block with less than a minute to play on a Monroe drive to tie the game at 59, Richmond sunk four free throws to seal the win.
Both teams struggled throughout the first half, as the teams combined to score only 44 points. Richmond held a 26-18 lead going into the locker room thanks to GW’s poor shooting. The Colonials shot 8-for-27 from the field, while Richmond shot 12-for-28.
The Colonials were unable to cut into the Richmond halftime lead for most of the second half, as Richmond led by nine with just under eight minutes remaining in the game. But over the next five minutes, the Colonials chipped away at the lead and came within one point, 55-54, with two and a half minutes remaining on a Monroe three-pointer.
The Colonials out-rebounded the Spiders 40-24, including 17-5 on the offensive glass, but poor shooting in the first half and 22 turnovers cost GW the victory.
Hobbs said the discrepancy in free throw shooting and GW turnovers were the key factors in the loss.
“We just didn’t take care of the basketball,” he said.
GW is back in action Saturday against Massachusetts (6-10, 0-4 A-10) at the Smith Center at 4 p.m. Hobbs said finishing will be a key to victory for the Colonials Saturday.
“I think we’ve just got to finish off those easy plays, convert lay-ups, put back easy rebounds and continue to play good defense,” he said.
The game will be the first in a four-game homestand that will also bring Saint Joseph’s, Duquesne and Xavier to the Smith Center.