Men defend home court

The GW men’s basketball team used a solid defensive attack to win back-to-back games for the first time since December, knocking off Duquesne 68-58 at the Smith Center Saturday.

A three-pointer by senior Chris Monroe with 25 seconds remaining in the first half put the Colonials (8-10, 2-5 Atlantic 10) up for good as they held the Dukes (7-14, 1-7 A-10) to 36 percent shooting. Duquesne turned the ball over 14 times, which GW converted into 18 points.

“The thing that was consistent for the entire afternoon was our defense,” GW head coach Karl Hobbs said.

Monroe had a game-high 19 points on 6-for-14 shooting and is now 180 points away from Joe Holup’s all-time GW scoring record. Sophomore T.J. Thompson added 17 points to go along with nine assists and freshman Mike Hall had 11 points and a game-high nine rebounds.

Freshman Omar Williams followed up a solid performance against Saint Joseph’s Wednesday night by scoring 10 points and blocking two shots against the Dukes.

“He’s playing with an incredible amount of energy than he was earlier,” Hobbs said. “And I’m happy about that because we need this young man to be a good basketball player for us. He gives us that versatility that makes us an effective team, particularly on the offensive end because he can relieve a lot of pressure from T.J. at the point guard spot.”

Williams has averaged 10.5 points, six rebounds and two assists while playing 30 minutes a game off the bench in GW’s last two victories.

“I am playing with a bit more energy,” Williams said.

“The coaches, really they’ve just been stressing to me to be more aggressive on offense.”

Jimmy Tricco led Duquesne with 12 points, all from three-pointers (4-for-6). Kevin Forney added 11 points.

An ally-oop dunk by freshman Pops Mensah-Bonsu a minute into the game brought the Smith Center crowd of 2,694 to their feet as GW took its first lead of the game, 4-2.

The teams played a tight first half with five lead changes and seven ties. No team was able to take greater than a four-point lead until Forney hit a jumper for Duquesne with six minutes in the first half to give them their largest lead of the game, 25-19.

GW stormed back in the last six minutes of the first half, however, to take a 33-31 lead into the locker room. Monroe scored eight of his 19 points during that stretch.

Duquesne used nine offensive rebounds in the first half to score 15 second-chance points compared to three second-chance points for the Colonials. Hobbs said the team adjusted in the locker room and the Dukes were held to only five second-chance points in the second half.

“I thought we did a pretty good job of correcting that,” Hobbs said. “I thought Pops really kind of controlled that inside paint a little bit. And Mike Hall was fantastic again on the rebounding.”

Hall scored the first four points of the second half, hitting a lay-up two minutes into the half and then hitting two free throws six seconds later to give the Colonials a 37-31 lead.

The Colonials opened up their largest lead of the game six minutes into the second half when Williams made a lay-up and a free throw to put GW up 45-34.

Duquesne chipped away at the lead to come within three points with four minutes remaining in the game when Tricco hit his third three-pointer. But the Colonials answered, as Thompson drained a three-pointer 30 seconds later to increase the lead back to six, 55-49.

The Colonials’ final four field goals of the game were slam dunks by Williams, Hall, Monroe and freshman Pops Mensah-Bonsu, whose rousing dunks brought the crowd to its feet throughout the game.

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