At the end of the GW men’s basketball team’s 72-65 loss to Richmond Saturday, a group of rowdy Spiders fans rushed the floor at the Robbins Center to celebrate. GW head coach Karl Hobbs said that while he was disappointed at his team’s continuing struggles on the road (3-17 in regular-season conference road games since 2001), that celebration was an encouraging sign.
“The defining moment of the game was when the fans rushed the floor,” he said. “Our players didn’t understand that they look at GW as a good team. Has that ever happened to us on the road before? We have to play with the same intensity on the road as we do at home.”
After dismantling Xavier Wednesday to remain perfect at home, GW dropped to 2-7 on the road in front of 7,631 in Richmond, Va. The result moved Richmond (12-8, 4-3 Atlantic 10) to within a half game of GW (11-8, 5-3 A-10) for second place in the A-10 West.
Led by Jermaine Bucknor’s career-high 17 points, Richmond was able to put the clamps on the Colonials’ offense for the majority of the game. The Spiders held the second-leading offense in the A-10 to 65 points, more than 10 less than GW’s season average of 75.5 points per game. Richmond also outscored the Colonials 18-7 from the foul line.
The Colonials got another strong performance out of sophomore forward Pops Mensah-Bosnu, who scored 11 points on 5-for-8 shooting and grabbed six rebounds. For short bursts, the Colonials used their up-tempo style to make the game close, but multiple double-digit deficits proved too much for GW to overcome.
Down 6-4 early, Richmond took over and never relinquished the lead. Reggie Brown’s three-pointer with 11:57 left in the half capped off a 16-3 Richmond run that put the Spiders up 20-9. The Colonials fought back to cut the lead to 27-22 with 5:53 left in the first, but Richmond promptly responded with a 16-6 run that put the Colonials in a 43-28 hole at the break.
“I think we lost that game in the first half, which clearly shows me we have a ways to go as a basketball team,” Hobbs said.
After the break, the Colonials opened the second half on a 12-2 run to cut the lead to 45-40 with 15:21 left, but Richmond scored the next 11 points to re-extend its lead to 56-40.
GW again cut the Richmond lead to single digits but could not get it below four points. Junior guard T.J. Thompson (10 points, five assists) and freshman guard Carl Elliott (10 points) each had attempts from beyond the arc clang off the rim late in the game.
The Colonials will look to continue their home-unbeaten streak Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. when they host the St. Bonaventure Bonnies at the Smith Center.